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This month we are looking at the importance of stress awareness (part of Stress Awareness Day 4th November) so we are challenging you to make a stress awareness space in your lives in a bid to find that calm.

This is effectively a call to be open, and a call for action. The hope is that if we create an awareness space we will be encouraged to think about and share what is making us stressed, and so help each other find ways to reduce it.

Organisers of this national day (the charity The International Stress Management Association or isma.org.uk) know that it is sometimes easier for others to recognise stress in you before you recognise it yourself. You may put the tears, tiredness and low confidence down to a bad day, for example, rather than seeing them as signs of stress (and your inability to concentrate, sleep issues, anxiety). Their website (and others like mind.org.uk) have a huge amount of advice and some great resources to find out more.

Think about how you feel, literally, in a stress awareness space. And what might be exacerbating or triggering those feelings. Is the way your family leaves all their belongings in the hall, or leaves the dinner table without helping you clear up driving you up the wall? Is the way your boss sets morning meetings for one minute after your bus gets you into work, or gives you a job five minutes before you are due to leave adding to anxious feelings? And what remedies can you suggest? Or you may want to use the stress awareness space for more personal reflections. The opportunity to make a list of those nagging issues that are raising your stress levels, and to match them with solutions to help you take back control. It could be anything from picking up the phone and talking to the utilities company about a late payment of a bill, or seeking advice on a health concern, or getting together with a friend to sort out a misunderstanding.

The website mind.org.uk has some ideas for everyday living, including tips to tackle sleep problems, some ideas to help you relax, and some great information about how and why physical activity can promote better mental health. Ask us for advice, too, on the best classes and routines to help you when you’re next in the centre.