Wednesday 7 November is National Stress Awareness Day, which aims to help people recognise when they are feeling stressed and find ways to tackle it.

Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, which is preparing to take over the commissioning of health services in Medway, is encouraging people to use National Stress Awareness Day to see if they need to take action on stress in their own lives.

Stress can affect us at any point in life and can lead to physical symptoms of ill health such as headaches, breathlessness, high blood pressure, sleeping problems and constant tiredness. Prolonged stress may also lead to the onset of mental health conditions such as panic attacks, depression and anxiety.

Stress levels have doubled in the last four years, suggesting that worries about worldwide economic turmoil, job security and the cost of living are really taking their toll. Nationally it is estimated that 10 million working days are lost each year, due to anxiety, depression and stress. There are five ways to mental wellbeing that have been identified by national research, as actions people can take to improve overall wellbeing and protect themselves against anxiety and depression. By building these five actions into our everyday life, we can help ourselves to feel better through difficult times and also make the most of life when things are going well.

Why not think just of them as your ‘five a day’ of mental wellbeing? They are:

Connect – with family, friends and colleagues – the support and enjoyment that can come from taking out time to see close ones and building new connections at work or in the community, can make a big difference to our happiness.

Get Active – go for a run, walk, swim or play a game. Leisure time and exercise gives you that feel good factor and you could find a new hobby you enjoy.

Take notice – be aware and be curious of the world around you …. beautiful places, changing seasons and what you are feeling. Reflecting on our experiences helps us to appreciate what matters to us.

Keep learning – learn something new, take up a course or set yourself a fun challenge. Learning can make you more confident as well as being enjoyable.

Give – do something nice or help a friend or stranger – it can be something simple like paying a compliment, helping family with a chore or even volunteering some time to a local charity. Giving can be so rewarding and creates connections with people around you.

Dr Nathan Nathan, Chair of Medway Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Stress is an unhealthy state of body or mind, or both and we often don’t realise how much it is affecting our health. The first thing to do is to recognise your level of stress and then you can begin to combat it. By trying to include the five ways to wellbeing into daily life, we can really start to feel better and alleviate stress in both our personal and working lives.”

Employers should also consider ways to provide a stress-free work environment, recognise where stress is becoming a problem for staff and take action to reduce stress.

More Talking Therapy services are also now available in every part of Kent and Medway. If you feel that anxiety, depression, anger or other emotional wellbeing issues are affecting your life, you can refer yourself for an assessment at a provider organisation of your choice.

For further information about Talking Therapy and ideas about how to tackle stress and improve your health and wellbeing, visit the Live It Well website at:

Mental Health Matters provides a 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year emotional support and advice helpline on 0800 107 0160.

If you are an employer and would like free advice and support around the issues of mental wellbeing and reducing stress in the workplace, visit: