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April is Stress Awareness Month

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April Stress Awareness Month

Since 1992 health care professionals have come together each April to raise awareness about stress, and the affects it can have on us.

Stress has become a prominent health concern over recent years, to the extent that in 2017/18 The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that 595,000 people in the UK reported work-related stress that was so bad it was making them ill.

In our busy modern lives it can be easy to neglect our own well-being, but with stress becoming a common part of life for many of us, it’s important that we do what we can to safeguard our health.

With that in mind, here are a few tips on how we at Aneurin Leisure can help you to beat stress:

1. Read More – Research has shown that reading for just six minutes can reduce your stress levels by up to 68%, that’s more than listening to music (61%) or going for a walk (42%). So why not make some time each day to do a little reading; whether it’s on your commute, while having your lunch or just before bed.

Our six libraries across Blaenau Gwent that provide a huge and varied range of free books that are available to borrow. If you’re too busy to make it to the library, we also have a hugely popular e-book and e-audiobook service called Borrowbox which you can access free of charge 24/7. We can also help you save money on magazines with our free e-zines service, just ask at your library for more information.

2. Get Active - Introducing some form of exercise into your routine can help to relive stress, as physical activity releases a whole host of natural hormones that help to improve your mood, concentration and even the quality of your sleep.

Our three Sports Centres provide a wide range of facilities to help you get active; from working out in the gym, to trying a group exercise class or playing a game of football, squash or badminton with friends.

If you’re looking for something that’s a little more relaxing or low impact, why not try a Yoga or Pilates class (we have weekly classes at all 3 of our Sports Centres) or join us for a swim. If workouts and sport don’t appeal to you – why not enjoy a relaxing walk around our parks at Bedwellty House or Parc Bryn Bach?

3. Connect with People – Activities that we do with friends often helps us to relax and have some fun, which is a great stress reliever.

Why not ‘buddy up’ and arrange to meet a friend at the gym or to go for a walk together, you could even make weekly plans for a catch up over coffee or lunch at Bedwellty House or Parc Bryn Bach.

If you’d like to meet new people with similar interests, our libraries have several reading groups and our Learning Action Centres host a variety of clubs.

4. Have Some ‘Me Time’ – Unfortunately in the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe, which means we rarely have time to look after ourselves and do the things that we enjoy. To counteract this, try to set aside a couple of night’s each week where you can break away from your usual routine and indulge in something you enjoy; a hobby, some exercise, meeting up with friends – the possibilities are endless!

5. Challenge Yourself – Setting yourself small challenges and goals can help to build your confidence, which in turn will help you to deal better with stress.

Whether you’d like to set yourself a fitness goal or learn a new skill, there are lots of ways to challenge yourself at Aneurin Leisure. Our friendly Sports Centre staff can help you achieve your fitness goals by offering advice and support where you need it. Or if you’d like to learn a new skill or language, our Adult Community Learning service provides a wide range of courses to suit everyone.

For more information on our facilities and range of services please visit www.aneurinleisure.org.uk

For more information about stress and how to deal with it, here’s some resources that may be of help:

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