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International Stress Awareness Week

November 1-7

Reducing the Stigma around Stress and Mental Health

Stress awareness day is November 1st

Frantic business woman who is totally stressed out
Woman at work meditating with papers flying around her

Burnout, Stress & Mental Health

For many, burnout and stress have been on the rise. The need to juggle work demands with competing life responsibilities (parenting, caretaking, health issues, or otherwise) has led some to consider what they really want in a job and how that fits into their whole life. And for certain employees, that’s meant leaving companies where they don’t feel supported.

Anytime is the right time to highlight that mental health is important to your organization and show employees you care for their well-being. Mental Health activities help employees feel happier and more connected in our increasingly isolated world. Boost company culture by encouraging activities that support good mental health.

Definition: Stress

Encourage Random Management and Peer-to-Peer Shout-Outs

Positive feedback and recognition can make someone’s day. It can also build deeper connections between managers and teammates and reduce stress. Practicing positive feedback regularly can help increase trust; building a community where employees feel supported and can be themselves at work.

Give managers easy access to tools to help encourage their team. A quick thank you with a personalized message and a selection of gift cards for coffee, lunch, or other activities magnifies the sentiment. Make sure recipients have a comfortable way to share their recognition.

Encourage employees to give each other shout-outs for a job well done on tools like Teams or Slack. Lead by example, and send the first DM giving someone a shout-out. Reward employees who participate with lunch or a treat.

You can also do shout-outs during team or company-wide meetings. Send a digital gift during the meeting to everyone’s email or mobile phone.

Man with Recognition gifts at his side
Co-workers enjoying a beer as part of company sponsored free time

Friday Afternoon Employee Mental Health Break

Give employees an extra 4 or 5 hours one Friday afternoon. Give them advance notice so they can plan time for themselves. Let them know that this time is for them, not for work. 

Here is an example of how to communicate this to your team:

“In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we are requiring all team members to log off and start their weekend early this Friday at 12 pm. Yes, you are required! We encourage you to take time for self-care, whatever this looks like. Spend time with friends, family, co-workers, take a hike, read a book, watch a movie, take a nap… enjoy!”

On Monday, when everyone is back at it, share what you did for self-care on your company Slack channel or during your company meeting.

Encourage Healthy Activities

Exercise is a great Mental Health Awareness Month activity because it hits on so many crucial aspects of employee wellbeing:
  • Physical health. Being physically active can reduce the risk of developing depression by 30%. Even a 20-minute walk can reduce stress and help employees feel better.
  • Socialization. Exercising with others is an excellent opportunity to build connections.
  • Being outdoors. Exercising outside has many benefits, including a better mood and a clearer mind.
  • Emotional and mental well-being. Exercising is a great mood-booster and is one of the key aspects of a healthy mind.

If your team can get together in person, take a walk or hike together. Virtual teams can use apps like FitWin or StepBet to see who can get the most steps in the month of May. Reward the winners!
Co-workers out for a walk
Man working on the floor with no desk is not happy

Improve Employee Workspaces

Help employees create an environment they WANT to work in. The great benefit of working from home is developing a space that helps employees thrive and be productive. Suggest adding a plant, hanging a painting, or having an adjustable light so they can adjust the light settings as needed, including a picture of the family, etc.

Styling the workspace is not for everyone. However, there are certain things that employees can do to create the perfect environment. To create the best vibe, suggest employees think about their style, productivity, décor, ambiance, and color psychology.

Midday Self-care Time

Let employees take an extended lunch break to take an extra few minutes alone or with colleagues. Over half of employees don’t take a lunch break, and 56% of people step away from work for lunch and only take 30 minutes or less for their break.

An overwhelming 94% of employees feel happier when they take lunch breaks. Lunch is an excellent opportunity to recharge, socialize, walk, and take a breather.

International Stress Awareness Week activity looks different for everyone. For some, taking a walk after they eat lunch helps them reset. For others, it may be calling a loved one or chatting with coworkers.

It’s essential to set an example as a company leader for this one. Take that extra time during your lunch this Stress Awareness Week and see other employees follow suit.

Give Employees a Small Bonus

Give employees a little “self-care bonus” that they can use to bring some joy into their week. 

Here are some ideas of small things to buy for stress management purposes:

• Go to a coffee shop for a favorite drink
• Buy a book on mental health or self-care
• Purchase a new game to play with friends
• Get a plant for their office space

Tell everyone to share their purchases with the team.

Don't forget, Build your Mental Health Culture.

Take a Breather – In times like these, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Take time to take care of yourself. Try to get enough sleep, take a short walk during the day, and eating balanced meals more regularly are simple, helpful ways that you can help employees manage their stress.

Don’t Keep Stress to Yourself – Encourage employees to speak to their managers or your organization’s HR department if they feel stressed. These conversations often lead to simple solutions that can alleviate some of these feelings — but many employees don’t feel comfortable approaching leadership with a problem. Remind them that your organization is there to help.

There’s No Shame in Stress – Mental health and mental health awareness can often come with some stigma. Ensure that your employees know that they will not be judged or shamed if they choose to share their feelings and have an action plan in place should an employee receive a negative response to speaking about their stress.

Sharing is caring – Good company culture is collaborative, but collaborating doesn’t have to stop with individual projects or deliverables. Encourage employees to share tactics that have helped them manage their stress with the larger team.

Resources – It’s always a good idea to share resources outside of your organization that employees can turn to, especially in the case of mental health. Compiling a list of those who may need more help than your organization can provide regarding their stress and anxiety is an easy way to provide support.


What is stress?



1. the physiological or psychological response to internal or external stressors. Stress involves changes affecting nearly every system of the body, influencing how people feel and behave. For example, it may be manifested by palpitations, sweating, dry mouth, shortness of breath, fidgeting, accelerated speech, augmentation of negative emotions (if already being experienced), and longer duration of stress fatigue. Severe stress is manifested by the general adaptation syndrome. By causing these mind–body changes, stress contributes directly to psychological and physiological disorder and disease and affects mental and physical health, reducing quality of life. See also chronic stress. [first described in the context of psychology around 1940 by Hungarian-born Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye (1907–1982)]

2. in linguistics, emphasis placed on a word or syllable in speech, generally by pronouncing it more loudly and deliberately than its neighboring units and slightly prolonging its duration. See also accent.


Stress in America 2022

Concerned for the future, best by inflation

The U.S. population has experienced an intense range of stressors over the past few years, as the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, and political divisiveness have dominated news cycles and social media. A new survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of APA, tells a story of uncertainty and dissolution.

Stress in America 2022: Concerned for the Future, Beset by Inflation, shows a battered American psyche, facing a barrage of external stressors that are mostly out of personal control. The survey found a majority of adults are disheartened by government and political divisiveness, daunted by historic inflation levels, and dismayed by widespread violence.

The report summarizes findings on current reported stress levels, sources, and consequences. Our psychologists also offer advice and strategies to help the nation navigate the fear of the unknown and the pervasive threats to the well-being of all Americans. APA is committed to empowering people to find ways to take back control and to find peace and calm in the chaos. Read More…

Stress effects on the body

Stress affects all systems of the body

Our bodies are well equipped to handle stress in small doses, but when that stress becomes long-term or chronic, it can have serious effects on your body. Read More…

Healthy ways to handle life’s stressors

When stress becomes unmanageable, try these evidence-based tools to tackle it in healthy ways

Stressful experiences are a normal part of life, and the stress response is a survival mechanism that primes us to respond to threats. Some stress is positive: Imagine standing in front of a crowd to give a speech and hitting it out of the park. Stressful? Certainly. But also challenging and satisfying. Read More…

Coping with stress at work

Working hard should not be confused with overworking at the expense of relationships and physical health.

Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. In the short term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfill a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelming—and harmful to physical and emotional health. Read More…

25 Ways To Cut Employee Stress

And Boost Productivity

Employee stress is a problem. For every employee. At every company.

Stress naturally occurs in the workplace. When left unchecked, it can wreak havoc on employee health and productivity.

In fact, stress has been associated with physical problems like a weakened immune system, stomach aches, high blood pressure, hair loss, and headaches. It can also cause problems with concentration and teamwork—and, ultimately, productivity.

So what can you do? Read More…


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