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Stress Awareness MOnth
With April just around the corner and that being Stress Awareness Month, it is
quite fitting that we think about stress and it's effect on our daily lives. It has been
said that not all stress is bad for you. For example, it can give you energy when things
are stressing you. But too much stress or stress that lasts a long time can cause or worsen
health problems. These include high blood pressure, fatigue, chronic pain, diabetes,
anxiety and depression.
So what's stressing you out? It could be financial or legal trouble, more work with less
time to do it, a new job or a job loss, daily chores (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc), death of
a loved one, recent or upcoming marriage, recent divorce or breakup, pregnancy, adoption or birth
of a child or the myriad of things that influence our lives each day. When you are stressed you might
eat too much or too little, smoke, drink alcohol or use other drugs, sleep too much or too little, feel
anxious, irritable and quick tempered, or verbally lash out at other people. These are signs that
you don't manage stress well.
You can manage your stress by following these tips:
- Accept what you cannot change. For example, if you get stressed out while stuck in
traffic, tell yourself to stop because there is nothing you can do about this situation.
- Focus on what you can change. Maybe leaving a few minutes early would eliminate being
stuck in traffic.
- Look on the bright side. Be positive by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
Find some comic relief. Some ideas on how to get you to laugh include watching a
funny movie or TV show, or reading a comic strip. Be grateful. Focusing on the
good things in your life makes one feel better about any stressful situation.
- Manage time well. Get up on time so you won't feel rushed as you start your day.
Set priorities about what and when tasks need to be done. Making a to-do list helps a
lot with this. Take breaks once in a while and you'll have more energy and be more
efficient when you get back to whatever task is at hand. Break big jobs into small
chunks. Get help. There is nothing wrong with having children do age-appropriate
chores or having your spouse help shop or cook.
- Eat a healthy diet. Limit your fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars and make
lean, low-fat or fat-free choices.
- Get enough physical activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each
week and spread out your activity throughout the week.
- Get enough sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. If you have trouble
going to sleep do something relaxing right before bed, like a hot bath or relaxation
All of the above tips are great ways to reduce stress in your life. However, the most
important tip is to get professional help, if needed. Your health care provider can offer
information on exercise, nutrition and relaxation. For more information on stress and other
mental health tips check out our website at:
P.O. Box 51
Seymour, IN 47274
Phone: (812) 522-3480
Fax: (812) 524-8176