April is Stress Awareness Month. Many of us are experiencing high levels of stress and it is damaging our health. Stress is one of the great public health challenges of our time, but it still isn’t being taken as seriously as physical health concerns. Help us raise awareness of both the causes and cures for the modern stress epidemic by sharing this picture.
Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems. Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.
Here are some steps to help you cope with stress:
- Stop. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, stop what you’re doing and give yourself a break. Even 5 minutes of quiet, meditative time can help you calm down and refocus. Try breathing exercises while you sit quietly and feel yourself calming down.
- Relax Daily. One of the best things you can do for yourself is find time to relax every day. Taking time out of your busy day to do something you enjoy, or simply do nothing at all will help you recharge every day and help you cope with stress.
- Let Go of the “Shoulds”. Learn to let go of what you can’t control and work with what you can. Overthinking about what should be but isn’t, can drive us crazy and doesn’t allow us to focus on what is and how we can make the best of it. Forget about what you think you should have or what should happen in your life and try to live in the present to make the best of every day.
- Get Some ZZZs. Sleeping is essential to good mental and physical health. Stress can take out sleep away and not sleeping can stress us out. Seems like an unbreakable cycle but it breaks with a good night’s sleep. Find a night relaxation routine that works for you and helps you get to sleep. Meditating, reading or listening to some relaxing music may help you get started.
- Seek out Support. If your stress is too much for you and none of the above seems to be working, seek support. Having a support system can make all the difference. Family and friends can help us bear the burden of a situation and provide comfort. When family and friends don’t have enough resources and tools to help, professional support is also a great option.