The first Wednesday of November each year is National Stress Awareness Day, which falls in the middle of International Stress Awareness Week (4th – 8th November 2019).
The International Stress Management Association created the week to raise awareness about stress prevention, as well as raising awareness of where those are suffering from stress can go to seek advice.
A survey commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation in 2018 found that 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed as some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
The NHS identifies stress as ‘causing physical changes in the body designed to help you take on threats or difficulties’, sometimes known as the fight or flight response.
However, for those who find themselves constantly feeling stressed, their body stays on high alert and they may begin to develop stress-related symptoms.
In 2018, according to NHS data, there was a 28% increase in the number of hospital admissions for stress and anxiety in the past decade.
For those who suffer from stress, it can sometimes be difficult to take action to tackle their symptoms. Organisations such as Mind, the NHS and Healthline all suggest exercise as a way of alleviating stress.
Additionally, as we discussed on World Mental Health Day, volunteering (or altruism) is also proved to help reduce stress.
At TCV, health and wellbeing is one of our four primary outcomes and we’re passionate about providing positive outcomes for both local green spaces and our volunteers.
In 2017, a study commissioned by the BBC and undertaken by the University of Westminster, found that TCV’s Green Gyms were an effective way to combat stress-related symptoms.
Participants of this study collected salvia samples to measure the stress hormone cortisol, which is essential for life and a burst of cortisol following awakening (known as the cortisol awakening response) is indicative of good health.
Volunteering at Green Gyms not only helps participants to lower their stress levels, but also helps to improve your local green spaces and community too.
Mind identify ‘ecotherapy’ as a way of relieving stress, as spending time in nature can reduce these feelings.