Although stress is not an illness itself, it can have a serious impact on both our mental and physical well-being, often affecting our work, families and relationships. It can make carrying out even the simplest of tasks feel totally impossible and, if allowed to go unchecked for a long period of time, can lead to potentially serious illnesses, such as depression, heart disease, or gastrointenstinal issues.
This November, there are two stress awareness events which aim to raise awareness of just how debilitating stress can be. Both Stress Awareness Day on 2 November and International Stress Awareness Week which runs from 7-11 November highlight ways people can manage stress and seek to reduce it before it becomes a problem, as well as promoting the importance of looking after mental health and building resilience.
Ways to manage stressIf you struggle to manage stress, there are a few practical tips which might help. These include:
• Keeping a record of any times you feel under stress. This might help you identify triggering factors, and how you can avoid these
• Trying to get more sleep. Steer clear of screens just before bedtime and aim to go to bed a bit earlier than you normally do to give yourself time to wind down before you fall asleep.
• Talk to your doctor if you’re struggling. If you’re finding it hard to manage stress, book an appointment with your GP and see if they can offer you any support or advice.
• Plan your day. Stress can often be brought on when we’re hit with unexpected events, or don’t have much structure in our lives. Try to plan each day carefully so you know exactly what’s happening and when.
• Exercise regularly. Exercise can be a fantastic stress reliever, so try and make sure you either get to the gym, go for a brisk walk, or go swimming, cycling or running a few times a week.
• Confide in friends and family. If you’re able to, let loved ones know that you’re feeling stressed. They might be able to help alleviate some of this stress, or be able to suggest ways to makes things better. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to people you know, it’s worth speaking to a professional counsellor about how best to manage stress.
How protection cover can helpProtection providers have taken big strides in recent years to make sure they offer much more than just a potential cash pay-out in the event of a claim. Many providers now offer policyholders a wide range of additional benefits which may include access to free counselling, mental health support, and advice on issues such as work-related worries, consumer rights, and concerns about debt or legal matters. These benefits are often available to the policyholder’s family too and can usually be accessed from day one.
Given the emotional and financial pressures many of us are experiencing as living costs continue to rise, knowing that you have access to services which can help you manage these stresses and strains can provide valuable peace of mind. If your current provider doesn’t offer access to these additional benefits and you’d like to review your cover, or you’re planning to buy a protection policy for the first time, call one of our expert protection advisers today on 0800 073 1932.