April is Stress Awareness Month
Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992. This month is dedicated to increasing public awareness about both the causes and countless coping skills for stress. This year is especially important as it marks roughly a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 2020 was an overwhelmingly stressful year, full of challenges and changes.
No matter what you are going through, it’s important to learn how to cope with your stress and find healthy ways to deal with certain situations to live a healthy and positive life.
What is stress?
Stress is a normal physical and emotional reaction that people experience as they encounter changes in life. Experiencing acute stress is common in everyday life. Examples of acute stress may be any stress you deal with for a short period of time, such as being late to work, arguing with a significant other, or forgetting something important.
While acute stress is usually nothing to worry about, long-term stress can be more than just a mental problem. Prolonged stress may contribute to or worsen a range of health problems, such as digestive disorders, sleep problems, and other symptoms.
Tips for Coping With Stress
Finding ways to cope with your stress doesn’t happen overnight. It is a learning process. The key to dealing with stress is by recognizing what causes your stress and focusing on ways you can better manage yourself in these situations.
Here are a few ways you can cope with stress:
Make time to unwind
Do you feel like you are always on the go without enough hours in the day to get everything done? That may be your number one problem. It’s crucial that you maintain a healthy work-life balance. Here are some tips on how you can achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance:
- Prioritize your time. Make a list of your tasks and prioritize your tasks based on importance.
- Have set work hours. Stay true to your work hours. Working 30 minutes to an hour overtime isn’t terrible, but if you are staying up until midnight to get everything done, you may need to change your work schedule.
- Manage your time. Sit down, look at your calendar and mark any days you may need to take off, such as holidays, birthdays, vacations, or even a mental health day. Doing this in advance will allow you to better manage your time and prepare for those days off.
Get into a workout routine
Exercise is great for a lot of things, including relieving stress. According to Harvard Health, “exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.”
Not only does exercise bump up the production of those feel-good endorphins, but it also helps you take your mind off of reality for a short period of time. Fitness classes, such as cycle, HIIT, and dance classes, can really allow you to disconnect from the real world and completely focus on your mind and body without any distractions.
Get enough sleep
Sleep allows our brains to recharge and our bodies to rest. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body cannot tolerate stress as much as it would if you were functioning on 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
According to the Sleep Foundation, “healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, young children and teens need even more sleep to enable their growth and development.”
Carve out hobby time
Having a hobby is important, as it gives you a sense of control and can help take your mind off daily life concerns. When you carve out time for certain activities you enjoy, you can improve your mental health and emotional well-being. Having a hobby also gives you something to look forward to after your workday or workweek, becoming a great way to unwind and do something you enjoy in your free time.
Contact Mile High Psychiatry
We understand how stressful this past year has been. Our providers at Mile High Psychiatry want to help you heal and become the best version of yourself. We do this through a combination of psychotherapy and cognitive tools. To learn more about our process or to request an appointment, contact us today.