How being part of a community can reduce stress Stress Awareness Month 2022 Since 1992, Stress Awareness Month has been held every April. The goal is to raise awareness of stress in ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. The last two years of the Covid pandemic were incredibly challenging and have resulted in higher numbers of people experiencing symptoms of stress. Social isolation and loneliness have become major factors in poor mental health post Covid, and can lead to depression, anxiety and stress. With many community events cancelled over the last two years, more people working alone at home and family gatherings put on hold, it's more important than ever to support each other we adjust to new changes in the way we live as restrictions lift. So the theme for Stress Awareness Month this year is community. The importance of community on mental wellbeing Community can give us a sense of connection to other people, helping us to feel accepted and supported. Laughing and chatting with others socially can temporarily distract us from our own worries and help reduce loneliness. The positive side effect of this is enhanced mental health and wellbeing. We can find our communities via family, friends, our local neighbourhood, hobbies and so much more. One way to discover like-minded people is by volunteering for a local charity or cause close to our hearts. This can give belonging and purpose to our lives whilst also working towards a worthwhile goal. Help when you're feeling stressed The Stress Management Society is running a 30 day challenge which is packed with free downloads and hints and tips to pick one action each day during April for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Their resources include a digital detox checklist and a daily de-stressing planner to help you focus on the most urgent tasks. The mental health charity Mind has loads of resources starting including this webpage What is stress? which then gives additional links to signs and symptoms, along with ways to help. The NHS has information and advice about stress including details about symptoms, things you can do to help (and things to avoid doing) along with links to find more help. The Mental Health Foundation has a great page explaining more about stress, the signs and how our bodies may react, who is affected and how we can help ourselves. Volunteering with Haven Unfortunately, at the time of writing, all our volunteering places are currently full. However, there are still other ways you can volunteer and support our work: Do a charity challenge to raise money for Haven which has the added benefit of a community of like minded challenge participants. Help Haven via liking or sharing our social media posts or doing a charity fundraiser. Read 10 ways you can support Haven without breaking your budget Make a donation to help us deliver more to children and young people in the Sheffield area.