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Stress Awareness Month

April 30 th marks the end of national stress month for those of us that were not stressed enough to notice. In reflective space I have been wondering what Covid -19 has done to your stress levels. Press and social media reports give an interesting range of perspectives.

For those of us worried about our own health or those of others, this is a stressful experience, the daily reports of death and hospital admissions make grim reading and don't reduce the stress and worry. If you are on the front (or even back line) of the response, the adrenalin required to perform well, the healthy stress response might be tipping over into the unhealthy.

On the other hand, some report that they have been using the opportunity presented by lockdown to notice the absence of the usual routine of appointments, commitments, and events and see this as somewhat reluctantly welcome and their untypical loss has led to a new freedom and a new awareness of what is important. Have we been forced into a new state of mindfulness by accident rather than by design?

Anecdotal evidence suggests part of our national response has been to eat and drink more, those taking daily walks might have recognised the overfilled glass recycling boxes and the growth in prosecco zoom parties. These are what the clinicians would call the unhealthy responses to stress, so what is the alternative in a routine now firmly set within our living space and shared physically only with those we live with. Keeping active is a significant strand to the public health advice, will the Covid coping daily stroll become a part of the new routine? Gardening is blossoming for those with the time and commitment, a substitute for the trips to the gym or the golf club. Online exercise classes clutter our social media and the dusty yoga mates in the loft are being dusted down. There are reported waiting lists to purchase turbo trainers. Mine is dormant in an unwelcoming garage if anyone is brave enough to face the temperature.

So, as April closes, lets rethink our stress busting strategies that are working, and celebrate our resilience, our bounce back - ability, and how even in lockdown, we have a lot of choices about how we take care of ourselves.

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