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How to Observe Stress Awareness Month in the Midst of Covid

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Google Trends data shows there has been a drastic and sustained increase in the number of anxiety-related searches on the search engine giant.

Every April since 1992, Stress Awareness Month has been held to raise awareness of its namesake’s causes and remedies. Stress is a condition that affects many millions of individuals across the UK – many of whom don’t feel comfortable talking about their symptoms or their feelings. To this day, despite the great number of sufferers, stress as a condition still isn’t taken as seriously as physical health concerns, and as such, has established itself as one of the great public health challenges that the world has ever faced.

In preparation for one of the most important weeks of the year Base Formula have put together some data around the condition.

Google search trends around anxiety in the UK

As you can see from the graph, taken from Google Trends data, there has been a drastic and sustained increase in the number of anxiety-related searches. While we cannot assume beyond any doubt, that this is indicative of more people suffering from the condition, we can assume beyond reasonable doubt that this is the case. Anxiety-related searches are double what they were in 2014, and four times what they were 10 years ago, back in 2010.

Coronavirus and stress

Stress is caused by a number of factors – physical health and financial concern being two that are towards the top of the list. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the globe with devastating effects, this virus has led to physical health conditions being placed under the microscope, as well as financial ones – Bloomberg have forecasted that coronavirus is expected to cost the economy $2.7 trillion.

This appears to correlate with people who have also searched for terms around ‘money worries’ in the UK, with there being an upward trend over the past week or so.

The data tells us a few things:

  • Stress and anxiety are becoming ever more commonplace, if online search trends are anything to go by.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is becoming a greater cause for concern for individuals, if one is to take at face-value search behaviour over the past month.
  • The pandemic has seen an increase in searches around ‘financial difficulty’ – one of the leading contributors to stress and anxiety in the UK.

Base Formula’s resources for mental health

Given that Stress Awareness Month is upon us, and accounting for the fact that the current pandemic is likely to increase anxiety among many, Base Formula have a number of resources available to aid with mental health.

The two peaks you see in the graph below, taken from our Google Analytics, show the substantial traffic increase our stress related resources get during the Stress Awareness Month each year:

As such, we can deduce that this month is the most important month of the year, when it comes to having resource available for stress awareness. The facts around stress in the UK makes for startling reading, with some of the figures below taken from a poll undertaken by YouGov in 2018:

  • In the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope.
  • 51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed, and 61% reported feeling anxious.
  • 49% of 18–24-year-olds who have experienced high levels of stress, felt that comparing themselves to others was a source of stress, which was higher than in any of the older age groups.

Recommendations to help with stress

  • Identify the reality of the situation and decide not to put up with feeling like this any longer!
  • Stimulants need to be kept to a real minimum. If you are stressed you may have overstimulated adrenal glands. Drinking too much tea, coffee or alcohol will further exacerbate the problem, leaving you feeling permanently ‘wired’, unable to relax, and could lead to a disrupted sleep pattern. This then becomes a vicious cycle – as you will then get over tired and less able to relax. 
  • Exercise is key. If you have high stress, your levels of the ‘fight or flight’ hormones in your blood stream will be consistently high. This can then undermine the functioning of different aspects of the endocrine system and cause fatigue and an inability to ‘wind down’ even when the opportunity arises. Exercise helps to flush out the stress hormones and re-balance posture, helping to release any muscular tension. It also stimulates the release of endorphins, which can help to boost your mood. The Government are allowing us out once per day to exercise, so take the opportunity to escape the house to run, cycle or walk or do some form of exercise in the home. Relaxing activities such as yoga are particularly helpful.
  • Seek out support and connect with other people. Although we’re currently in lock-down there are many mental health services that are now moving online to offer support.
  • With extra time at home, make sure you take time out just for yourself, to switch off from everything and focus on your own self-care. Aromatherapy essential oils can be particularly helpful in this respect and there are many different oils that are excellent for aiding relaxation and relieving stress and anxiety. Read Base Formula’s expert advice on the best oils to use and how you can use them.


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