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What is Stress Awareness Day?

November 2 is the most common day to observe Stress Awareness Day, a day to create awareness about stress and stress prevention.

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Insights from Ellen Raim, Founder of People MatterWe focus more on solving than preventing People problems.

Stress Awareness Day is one of those holidays that has an unclear origin and varying dates, but the mission is clear and concise: create awareness about stress and stress prevention.

When is Stress Awareness Day?

Stress Awareness Day is always the first Wednesday in November. This year, Stress Awareness Day is November 6, 2024.

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Why is it important to create awareness about stress and stress prevention?

“83% of workers suffer from work-related stress, with 25% saying their job is the number one stressor in their lives,” according to The American Institute of Stress (AIS). Stress is impacting employee’s lives, hurting work performance and negatively affecting their home lives.

Because of stress, AIS details:

  • 1 million U.S. workers miss work each day.
  • Half of U.S. employees are less engaged than they otherwise would be.
  • 41% of employees have reduced productivity.

But stress management, notes the Wellness Council of America, has both quantifiable and qualifiable benefits, including:

  • Reducing the volume of sick days.
  • Boosting employee retention and talent acquisition efforts.
  • Demonstrating employer compassion.
  • Creating stronger company culture.

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How do you know if your workplace is a high-stress environment?

The initial steps to stress reduction are:

  1. Acknowledging the existence of stress.
  2. Recognizing the symptoms of stress.
  3. Identifying the causes of stress for ourselves and our coworkers.

A U.S. News & World Report article published earlier this year lists six “red flags” that indicate “too much stress at work.”

Stress red flags include:

  1. Saying “yes” all the time.
  2. Feeling overwhelmed.
  3. Procrastination.
  4. An active mind resulting in sleep problems.
  5. Making mistakes.
  6. Working on the weekends.

Even in the best of circumstances, stress can be prevalent. But, when you add in the challenges and uncertainty we’ve all faced over the past few years, stress has become ubiquitous.

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What are the best ways to reduce stress at work?

Once we’ve recognized and acknowledged stress at work, it's up to each of us – but especially the leaders – to take action. There are many ways to reduce stress at work. SHRM recommends a combination of policy and mindset changes to help minimize stress, including:

  • Offering flexible hours and remote/hybrid work options.
  • Encouraging employees to use their paid time off (and not work when they’re off).
  • Supporting time off for healthcare visits.
  • Asking employees what they want and need to reduce stress.
  • Offering resources to create stress awareness and providing actionable advice to reduce stress.

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