About the event
This day, initiated by the International Stress Management Association in 1998, is a day to highlight the causes, signs and solutions to stress. International Stress Management week also surrounds this day which typically falls on a wednesday in November, allegedly because wednesday (or hump day) is the most difficult day of the week. Events, conferences and lectures are held internationally that seek to raise awareness about managing stress at a personal, community and national level.
How to approach it
This is a great opportunity to introduce and reinforce student’s knowledge of what stress is, how it can be recognised and how it can be dealt with. Stress is an emotion felt by students and teachers alike and it's a vital life skill to be able to identify it both for oneself and to help others around us. Begin by asking to see if any of your students can offer a definition of what stress is. Open up the discussion to ask for suggestions of what situations might cause stress, how it might feel and how we might act when we are stressed. Useful examples are exams, university applications, money issues or climate change. You may want to give examples of when teachers might feel stressed to show that it's normal for everyone to feel these things from time to time.
Next, ask students to think about ways in which we might be able to tell if others or ourselves might be stressed. Some examples are impatience, anxiety, reclusiveness or trouble sleeping. You can show here that different people can have quite different reactions to stress, but one commonality is that they often don’t seem comfortable or fully themselves. The important thing to teach here is receptiveness. Good questions to ask are, how can we ask how people are doing in the right way? What things can we look for in our friends, teachers and parents for signs of stress?
Finally, close out this discussion by talking about how we can resolve stress for ourselves and others. Good examples here might be exercising, getting enough sleep, taking a break from a stressful task, talking to someone, or even removing ourselves from unnecessarily stressful situations.
Stress is a feeling we all feel from time to time. People can be stressed when they forget their homework or revise too late for an exam. How can you tell if someone is stressed? How could we help them to feel better?