6 Tips to Reduce Stress During Stress Awareness Month
The last two years have been the most challenging we have faced. As we emerge from the pandemic and most restrictions have been lifted, we all need support now more than ever as we adjust to a new way of living. Learning to cope with our stress and finding healthy ways to deal with these situations can go a long way in living a healthy and positive life.
Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to increase public awareness about the modern cures and causes of stress. Stress can be more than just a mental health issue. Long-term stress can cause ailments from headaches, stomach disorders to depression – even very serious issues like stroke and heart disease can be a result of stress.
Here are 6 ways to reduce stress:
- Take breaks from the news and social media. It’s important that we stay informed, but constant information on current events can be stressful. Try limiting your daily news intake and disconnecting from your phone, TV, and computer screens for a while.
- Take care of your body. Develop healthy eating and sleeping habits, support by regular doctor appointments.
- Add more fruits and vegetables
- Limit saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars
- Get at least seven hours of sleep at night and go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
- Get regular health appointments, testing, and screening
- Get moving. Every little bit of physical activity helps. You can start small and build up to 150 minutes a week that can be broken down to smaller amounts such as 20 to 30 minutes a day.
- Limit or avoid alcohol, and smoking.
- Choose not to drink, or drink in moderation by limiting consumption to one drink a day for women—two for men—on days that alcohol is consumed.
- Try to avoid smoking or using other tobacco products. Smoking isn’t a long-term stress reliever and can do more harm than good in the long term.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
If you have any of the symptoms of emotional stress and have tried one or more of the suggestions discussed in this article and haven’t found relief, please speak with your doctor immediately.
Counselors and mental health therapists are trained professionals who can find ways to help you cope, reduce the effects of emotional stress, help you feel better and become more functional in your day-to-day activities.
If you or a loved one have thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They are available 24 hours/day, seven days a week.