Relax and Unwind this April for Stress Awareness Month

By Marlena Carrillo

Spring is the time to unwind. April is Stress Awareness Month, a time healthcare workers dedicate to learning where stress can come from, what it looks like in people and how it can be treated. 

This year, the the theme of Stress Awareness Month is #LittleByLittle. This theme “highlights the transformative impact of consistent, small positive actions on over-all wellbeing,” according to the Stress Management Society. It emphasizes “how even the smallest steps taken each day towards self-care and stress reduction can yield significant improvements in mental health over time.”

First, what is stress? The Mental Health Foundation said stress is the state of feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope with internal pressures like emotions, thoughts and more. Stress is natural – it is what happens when your body deals with pressure. This pressure can come from anywhere; family, work, relationships, finances and health concerns are all potential causes of stress.

So, what can you do about it? Here are some tips on how you can use your community to promote mental well-being together.

1. Be open.

Mental health issues are stigmatized, but everyone experiences some form of stress or illness at some point in their lives. By being honest about your experiences with others and promoting conversations about stress, you are using your platform to promote wellness inside and out.

2. Relax.

This tip might sound self-explanatory, but everyone has a method of unwinding that works for them. Whether yours is meditating, joining a yoga class or keeping a journal, find a healthy outlet for any stress you experience.

3. Exercise.

The American Psychological Association says exercising is a healthy way to relieve stress and improve your mood. However, only 17% of adults say they exercise daily. Even adding 30 minutes of walking to your daily schedule can help you combat stress.

4. Build healthy habits.

Healthy routines look different for everyone. Incorporating nutritious foods into your diet, cutting back on smoking and drinking and getting more sleep can all improve your well-being. Reflect on what works for you and make changes in areas that might be causing you excess stress.

5. Show kindness.

It’s easy to get caught up in our own struggles, but everyone is dealing with something. Be patient and compassionate with people who might be feeling stressed or anxious, even when that person is yourself.

Try these steps to build a healthier, happier environment for yourself and those around you!

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