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April is Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month

We all strive to minimize stress in our lives. How we deal with stress varies from person to person, as does the impact stress can have on our body. While stress is unavoidable, there are many ways to help prevent and manage it.

April marks the start of stress awareness month and has been held every April since 1992 to raise awareness of the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.  

The last two years have been the most challenging we have faced, resulting in an increase of people struggling and seeking support.  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.

The pandemic has had a damaging effect on the nation’s mental health and sense of community.  Disrupted social lives, the cancellation of large gatherings, travel restrictions, and working from home have kept us in one place for long periods of time – leaving us alone with our thoughts and daily stresses.

Whether it’s positive stress (like planning a wedding) or negative stress (such as getting laid off), everyone has felt the effects of stress at one point in their lives. Stress affects more than just your mind, and is often displayed as physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and muscle tension and can even lead to serious health issues, such as cardiovascular disease.

In fact, 77 percent of Americans report that they experience physical symptoms as a result of stress. Additionally, 33 percent feel they are living with extreme stress and 48 percent blame stress for negatively impacting their personal and professional lives.

Being aware of when we're experiencing stress or recognizing when it's affecting someone around us is important - as it's the first step towards feeling better. 

What you can do for stress awareness month

  • Talk about stress and its effects – let's work together to reduce the stigma that is associated with stress by talking about the topic openly and freely with friends, family, and colleagues.
  • Share your coping mechanisms – if something has worked for you why not share it. It might benefit someone you care about and in the meantime, it might help you take your focus off your own challenges.
  • Be nice to those who are stressed and anxious – we are all undoubtedly going to experience stress and anxiety in our lifetime so treat others going through it with compassion and empathy.
  • Look after yourself – we all need to think more about self–care. Take time out of your day to relax or do something that you enjoy. Don’t forget to exercise and eat well, even when you feel too stressed.

Although it’s a lot easier said than done, try eating a diet full of fresh, whole foods, get the recommended amount of exercise and the proper amount of sleep to help the body combat stress naturally. Let this month be the start to your improved health, well-being and stress-free life.