Stress Awareness Month Strategies for the Workplace & Everywhere
When is Stress Awareness Month 2021?
Stress Awareness Month is observed in April. Stress Awareness Day takes place on the first Wednesday of every November, this year falling on November 3rd, 2021.
What is Stress Awareness Month?
Stress Awareness Month represents an opportunity for individuals, employers, and health care professionals to promote awareness about stress and its effects. According to the American Psychological Association, 76% of Americans say the coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress and 35% say their level of stress about the pandemic has increased in the past month.
These statistics support why Stress Awareness Month activities are so important- to encourage healthy habits at home, at school, and in the workplace that will reduce stress and improve overall health and wellness. Here are two focuses of this year’s event in relation to the workplace:
- How employers are responding to mental health issues and what can be learnt
- What further actions need to be taken in the light of the pandemic and possible changes in future working practices
Who Should Participate in Stress Awareness Month?
- Corporate Wellness and Human Resources’ Programs
- Healthcare Organizations
- Human Service Agencies
Stress Management in the Workplace and Beyond: Tips and Activities
In honor of Stress Awareness Month, we asked Tisha Bremner, the Wellbeing Coach at Bank Express, to share her tips for overall stress reduction in the workplace and beyond.
- Look for Ways to Simplify
If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, look at what’s happening in your life and look for ways to simplify. Prioritize what’s important and focus on doing a few things well.
- Use Relaxation Techniques
Reduce stress with breathing techniques. Slow your thoughts and take some deep breaths, which will help you to gain perspective. Give meditation and reflection techniques a try. Listen to soothing music. For a more restful night’s sleep try a warm bath, a simple meditation, and a gentle stretch.
- Try Yoga
Yoga is not only a great strength exercise, it is also an evidence-based technique for reducing stress.
- Maintain Healthy Habits
The first thing that goes when we are stressed is our ability to make healthy choices for ourselves, like exercising, eating healthy and getting enough sleep. Ironically, these are all ways that one can boost the immune system and combat the effects of stress.
Self-care is more important now than ever to mitigate the effects of social isolation, fear of COVID, social and political turmoil, financial difficulties, and managing multiple priorities in an ever-changing environment to name a few. The 3-most important self-care practices to consider are:
Move every day for 10 minutes or more. You will boost your serotonin levels, feel a sense of accomplishment, and improve your energy.
- Practice Healthy Boundaries
Learn to say no to the things that are taxing, overwhelming, and diminish the quality of your life. These might include media, food, people, and unhelpful activities.
- Set a Routine
Fit time in your schedule for work, play, rest, and taking care of the things that are important to you. Consider the things most important to you and schedule them in. Try starting and ending your workday at the same time. Establish a regular sleep schedule. Do one relaxing and rewarding thing each weekend.
If you fill your well on a regular basis, this will help you cope with challenges when they arise and give you the needed stamina to survive the long-haul of the remainder of the pandemic.
Giveaways that Enable Stress Management
Give the gift of stress relief! Promotional giveaways are a great way to reinforce a message of stress awareness and prevention. Whether you choose to distribute custom printed stress relievers or other personal care items, you will show recipients that you care about their mental and physical wellbeing. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
- Encourage recipients to take a time out from stressful situations by focusing on another activity such as squeezing a stress ball.
- Make a gift of aroma therapy candles or essential oil diffuser sets in a soothing scent.
- Hand out custom earbuds to students, employees, and patients so they can listen to guided meditations or soothing music whereever they go.
- Consider offering members, customers or clients a custom yoga mat with your organization’s logo.
- Encourage healthy earting with a branded blender bottle to make protein shakes and smoothies or a fitness product such as an exercise stretch band or an activity tracker.
At Bank Express, in addition to planning wellness activities for Stress Awareness Month, we have a number of workplace initiatives that are accessible to employees all year round. These include:
- On-site meditation in guided groups, or in a private meditation room.
- LifeBreath- a breathing technique and program for relaxion as well as mental and emotional release.
- Yoga classes.
- Stretch program- employees are prompted to stretch when music plays three times a day, using recommended stretch techniques posted in work areas.
- An on-site gym with cardio and strength training equipment.
- EAP (Employee Assistance Program) - counseling services offered in person or over the phone.
- Wellbeing coaching - a voluntary, free service where employees can meet one-on-one with a wellbeing coach to work on any wellness-related goal.
- Lunch n Learns- free lunch workshops focusing on healthy habits and coping skills.
- Wellness Team- a group of employees who plan activities to support workplace wellness.
- Walk/Run/Bike Club – to encourage staff to get fit and sweat out the stress together.
- Walking paths on our company grounds with multiple routes that show the miles and steps that employees achieve on each one.
You may also be interested in How to Start a Corporate Wellness Program.
Tisha Bremner is a corporate wellness consultant who works with companies in Maine to develop and implement their wellness programs. She is a certified health and wellness coach, accredited through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. In addition to working with companies, she works with employees at Bank Express to realize their health and wellness visions.