April is Stress Awareness Month
Stress Awareness Month has been recognized every April since 1992, but this year it seems particularly important.
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.
Many people have commented that I have a positive demeanor during my yoga and fitness classes. People see that I’m happy go lucky and I always have a smile on my face. My clients have even told me that they have never seen me sad or frustrated with life.
However, the truth is that like many of us, we have all experienced change in our professional and personal lives during these past 2 years. I personally experience stress and frustration, even as someone who practices yoga and mindfulness regularly. There are times where I take a step back so that I don’t let my emotions get the best of me. However, it is through my yoga and mindfulness practice that I’m able to deal with what life throws at me and to adapt to an ever-changing world.
Right now, think about your stress levels. Are you doing ok? Is there anything you want to change or improve? If so, the first step is to take some time for self-care. Even if it’s something small such as listening to music or connecting with a loved one, small changes can make a big difference in our physical and mental health.
If you are looking to add more mindfulness or work on reducing your stress levels, below are some tips to manage your stress.
Self-care is the best care. We all have so much responsibility in our lives, but your mental and physical health should rank at the top of your to do list. Activities such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and participating in things you love are essential to your overall wellbeing.
Be mindful of how you’re feeling. Usually, we get so wrapped up in our emotions that we forget that although we are experiencing stress, we don’t have to focus and ruminate on it. Take a deep breath, go for a walk, and get your mind off things. Where your focus goes, your energy flows.
Find support as needed. Your friends, family, and loved ones are there to support you. Sometimes I feel like a burden if I talk to my support system and vent all my issues, but they are there to lift you up during hard times. I now see that vulnerability isn’t a sign of weakness, but an invitation to connect and receive support from your loved ones. If you feel like you need more help, a social worker or psychologist will be able to assist you further.
Avoid unhealthy behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, and excessive food. These habits might give temporarily relief, but afterwards our stress and problems are still there. I’ve learned that taking a walk or participating in exercise gives me long term sustained benefit, so I avoid these habits as they end up making me feel worse
As you finish the rest of your day, just know that at any time and anywhere, you can take a deep breath in and slowly exhale to create a mini vacation and let go of stress.
If you are looking for more tips on how to deal with stress, see the CDC’s tips below.