Since 1992, April has been recognized as National Stress Awareness Month. This month highlights both the mental and physical effects of stress and learning how to better manage and cope with stress. We have all experienced stress in our lives, whether positive or negative. Long-term stress can lead to depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, gastrointestinal diseases, and overall negative quality of life.
Tension has only risen among the population since the start of the pandemic. The Harris Poll conducted a “Stress in America” survey and found the significant stressors are inflation and the Russia-Ukraine situation. As stress rises, many people find it challenging to cope and manage their everyday stressors. Therefore, this April, take time to manage and identify your stressors and take action to manage your daily stress better. Below are some tips to help manage and cope during stressful times.
- Stick to a healthy diet. Maintaining a healthy diet full of whole foods is paramount in maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.
- Limit Caffeine. Especially when you have anxiety, the more caffeine consumed, the more likely you will feel anxious and irritable.
- Exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity. Find the time to fit in a workout, even for 20 minutes. Moving for 20 minutes is better than no movement. Exercise helps release stress and results in a better night’s sleep and overall satisfaction.
- Talk to a friend/family member/doctor. Reach out for help. Discuss your stressors and how you are feeling/coping.
- Avoid drugs/alcohol. This will cause more stress, but it will also cause more problems in the long term.
- Find a good therapist. A good therapist can help you manage/cope with your stress and learn ways to better manage your stress.
Ultimately, we all experience stress, and some periods are more stressful than others. The critical takeaway is to become more aware and able to tackle each stressor as it arises.