In honor of National Stress Awareness Month answer these questions.
- Do you experience any of the following symptoms: headaches, chest pain, muscle tension, nausea, or changes in sex drive?
- Do you experience insomnia or struggle to fall or stay asleep?
- Are you feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities?
- Do you struggle to focus on tasks or stay motivated?
- Do you feel you have little appetite or overeat?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are likely experiencing stress.
Stressed? Of course, we are all stressed! We are living through a global pandemic and this year’s National Stress Awareness Month holds new meaning. Most of us are quarantined at home, many having to homeschool their children while working at the same time. Millions have lost their jobs and some don’t even know where their next meal is coming from; while essential workers are out in the field, where at any moment they can come into contact with the virus and take it home. Thousands have lost loved ones or are fighting the virus themselves.
We have rarely seen stressors at this level and affect so many all at once. This is why in times like these we need to deal with our stress even more.
A small amount of stress is a good thing because it means you are working hard and care about what you are doing. When stress becomes overwhelming, it crosses the line and becomes unhealthy. When it is prolonged it can lead to a variety of health issues such as IBA, ulcers, strokes, panic attacks, anxiety, body aches and pains, insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease and so much more. It can even weaken our immune system, which can make us more susceptible to getting coronavirus.
The American Psychological Association has found that five factors are most often named as major sources of stress: money, work, family, economic future and relationships. These may have been stressful for you months ago. But, now, in our days of social distancing, quarantine, and the worldwide pandemic; your stress is probably running at an all-time high.
It is never a good thing to ignore your stressors. The more you resist them the more they will persist. So, instead of trying to avoid them, face them for what they are so that they can lessen.
6 Ways to Lessen Stress:
- Face – Face it and give yourself a talk in the mirror! Acknowledge your stress and see it for what it is. Remind yourself that you are worthy of good mental & physical health.
- Focus – Start putting a game plan together for the steps you can take to start minimizing your stress. Many people live in the disappointment of yesterday and worry about tomorrow, so focus on today.
- Change – Change your perspective. Focus on the positives in your life by finding your gratitude. By focusing on the things you are grateful for, you can shift your mind away from negative thought patterns. It is easy to be grateful when you have obvious things to be grateful for. So, in times of stress, you might have to look harder.
- Exercise – Even though the most appealing thing to do when you are stressed is to lay around and watch TV all day – you should do something else first. Exercise. Moving your body gets the necessary endorphins working in your brain, which triggers feelings of happiness and will give you peace of mind.
- Meditate – A quiet mind is a stress-free mind. Practicing mindfulness, meditating and deep breathing can help calm your mind. In just a few minutes you can reduce your heart rate and calm your thoughts.
- Give – on days when you feel your worst, a great way to lessen stress is to give to someone else. Volunteer your time or give to others if you are able. Perhaps it’s just a phone call or text to check-in with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. It might not only brighten their day but will certainly help you as well.
Now is the time for you to make a choice. Put yourself in a mindset to make the best of it, which will, in turn, reduce your stress. Schedule a time to face, focus, change, exercise, meditate and give. Let this month be your pivot point to FACE it. You are not alone. So, together let’s FACE it till we make it.