International Stress Awareness Day
Also known as
National Stress Awareness Day (UK) (1998 to 2016)
the first Wednesday in November (since 1998)
International Stress Awareness Day was started as National Stress Awareness Day in 1998 by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA), an organization based in the United Kingdom, and became International Stress Awareness Day in 2017. The day was created to provide the public with information about how stress affects the body and mind, what causes stress, and how it can be coped with and managed. The day raises awareness about stress and stress prevention and promotes wellbeing for both individuals and organizations.
ISMA members use the day to start dialogues with individuals and businesses, and to deliver workshops and presentations. In past years, the ISMA has co-hosted a Stress Fair, which included stress consultations, massage therapy, health and wellbeing displays, and exercise demonstrations. They have also hosted an Online Stress Summit, and have managed an online chatbot where those suffering from stress could receive advice and guidance from ISMA stress advisors.
Stress occurs when the mind and body respond to a demand or challenge. Stressors may be long term or short term. Everyday stress may stem from work or school; stress can come from a sudden negative change like a divorce, illness, or job loss; and traumatic stress can be the result of an assault, a major accident, or a natural disaster. A small amount of stress can be beneficial in some situations, but unchecked and prolonged stress causes deleterious effects on the brain and body, such as sleep problems, digestive issues, depression, anxiety, irritability, loss of brain cells, high blood pressure, risk of heart disease, and a weakened immune system. There are a number of ways that stress can be combated, however, including through nutrition, exercise, and relaxation techniques such as meditation.
How to Observe International Stress Awareness Day
Here are a few ways you could spend the day:
- Check for events organized by the International Stress Management Association. You could reach out to them or another organization that focuses on stress for resources and help.
- Recognize signs of stress in your life such as irritability, anger, depression, increased alcohol use, or sleep issues.
- Do some things to alleviate stress:
- Eat stress-relieving foods.
- Use essential oils.
- Exercise by going for a swim, taking a walk in a park, going for a run, or by dancing.
- Listen to music or do some reading.
- Do something that makes you laugh.
- Do some deep breathing exercises.
- Take a long bath.
- Do some restorative yoga.
- Spend time with loved ones.
- Set goals and priorities.
- Get a massage.
- Consider a therapist.