International Stress Awareness Week 2020 mental health wellbeing and managing stress

Since 2018, The International Stress Management Association (ISMAUK) has dedicated a week to raising awareness about preventing and managing stress and highlighting the importance of good mental wellbeing.

This year’s International Stress Awareness Week has never been so important. Mental health issues are often discussed and at the forefront of everyone’s mind, but in the wake of Covid-19, concerns have continued to rise. From July 2019 to March 2020 it was likely only 1 in 10 adults would experience some form of depression. However in June 2020 it was reported to have doubled to one in five adults – primarily due to Coronavirus.

That’s why this year the theme for International Stress Awareness Week has been dedicated to ‘Managing stress and mental health issues in the age of Covid-19.’

How can you manage stress?

Taking care of your mental health during the pandemic is an important part of supporting your overall health and wellbeing. The uncertainty surrounding coronavirus is more than likely the perpetrator for causing stress right now, but there is plenty of support out there to help you deal with and manage stress.

Here we’ve outlined a few examples on managing stress:

Be active

We’ve all spent a lot more time inside this year, but getting outside and enjoying a short walk will do wonders for your wellbeing. It has been proven that being outside and viewing scenes of nature will reduces stress and increases pleasant feelings. Still working from home? You could take a quick walk round the block for your morning commute.

Restful sleep

Not sleeping well is one of the biggest factors when it comes to stress and can affect our attention, performance and mood to name a few. The Mental Health Foundation created their ‘Ten top tips for good sleepand highlighted a tech-free bedtime as their number one priority, with no use of devices from two hours before you go to sleep.  

Opting for healthier food

Whilst there’s no suggestion you can’t treat yourself to the odd chocolate bar or takeaway, eating a balanced and well-rounded diet has been outlined as one of the key ways our bodies manage the physiological changes stress can cause. Eating a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables a day will help stabilise blood sugar levels.

30-3-30 approach

The 30-3-30 approach was introduced on the WellbeingAndCoping website and is designed to give prompts of tasks you can think about or do to help when you’re feeling anxious and stressed. Grouped by 30 seconds, 3 minutes or 30 minutes these actions are there to give simple tips on looking after your mental wellbeing.

Be kind to yourself

2020 has been a turbulent year for everyone. The coronavirus pandemic continues to cause uncertainty, so remember it is ok that you may feel more stressed than usual. Go easy on yourself and speak to your friends and family. Your support network is there to help ease your worries and remind you that you’re not alone.


Do you have any tips on how to manage stress? We would love to hear your ideas and share these on Athona’s social channels.

The International Stress Management Association are holding an online Global Stress & Wellbeing Summit from Monday 2nd November to Friday 6th November, more details about registering to attend and what’s on can be found here.