April Is Stress Awareness Month

April Is Stress Awareness Month

Chances are if you’re under any stress you don’t want someone to make you even more aware. Most people are already experiencing stress but may not know how to keep it under control. Research from The American Institute of Stress indicates that 90% of visits to primary care physicians are stress-related, from stomach trouble to heart disease. These stress-related illnesses cost businesses a whopping $150 billion every year.  Since 1992, Stress Awareness Month has been helping people understand what stress is, and how it can impact them. From the smallest worry to big things like divorce, depression and job-related issues, unchecked stress can cause physical symptoms if you don’t manage it well.

The Symptoms of Stress

If you don’t manage your stress, you can find yourself with physical ills like headaches, fatigue, and hypertension. Your judgment may even be impaired. Severe, long-term stress can eventually lead to a heart attack, stroke or other serious events. But you don’t have to “just live with it.”  Daily stress from everyday things like work, school, relationships and life management is normal, and everyone has it—you’re not alone. But heavy stressors that come from a traumatic event may mean you need some additional help before it turns into physical symptoms. If you’re having severe symptoms from stress, it may be time to ask for help from a health professional.

Diffusing The Pressure

Stress relief can mean different things to different people. Some of the most common are:

  • Turning off technology
  • Yoga/Physical activity
  • Meditation
  • Crafts (woodworking, knitting, sewing or other hands-on creative work

Stress relief is individual and personal, based on what you enjoy. But there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution that works for everyone, every time. What re-energizes one person can bore the next one, so it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. It may be as simple as washing dishes and vacuuming, or as adventurous as hiking, surfing or skiing. Think about what works for you, and incorporate more into your life as you need it.

Managing Your Stress

What can you do reinforce yourself to keep stress from defeating you?

  • Get enough sleep. Our coffee-powered culture tells us to work more, play harder and don’t let anything stop that. But if you don’t stop, get enough sleep and turn off the distractions, you’ll eventually start having physical symptoms and burn out. Are you getting enough? It may sound ridiculous to suggest nine hours of sleep. But without time to recharge and refresh, you’ll end up feeling worse and be less productive. Set a bedtime, turn off your electronics, and get to sleep. Can’t sleep? Melatonin and other readily available homeopathics can help you get to sleep, and start a regular sleep schedule.
  • Reduce or limit caffeine intake. Whether it’s coffee, tea or any kind of canned drinks, caffeine is a stimulant. Too much can keep you awake at night, exacerbate stress, depression, and anxiety. Stopping caffeine all at once can give you headaches and make you generally grouchy. Tapering off takes time, but makes it a lot easier.
  • Disengage from your phone. Regularly checking email, social media or other online distractions can also cause stress as well as disrupt your sleep. Stop electronic distractions at a certain point (say, an hour from bedtime or during dinner) to stay away from things that can cause stress.
  • Engage in some form of physical exercise. Moving around, whether it’s a short walk, yoga, Tai-Chi, or full-on running and weight lifting are physically beneficial and can help you “burn off” daily stress.
  • Meditation. Done daily, this “exercise for the mind” can help you work through stress and clear your mind. Even ten or fifteen minutes a day can benefit stress levels.
  • Help someone else. Do you know someone who’s even more stressed out than you? Someone who’s had a significant life event, or a temporary setback (like a car accident or a layoff?) Offer a helping hand. You’ll be doing favors for yourself and the other person.

For More Information

The American Institute of Stress has a free library of downloads for stress management and relief.  Click here to visit the Free Library. Need more? The Meadows Ranch is ready to help you with healing. If stress is taking over your life, give us a call at 866-332-7381 and talk with one of our professionals. Located in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, we’ve been helping people just like you for over 40 years when life is overwhelming. Call us or use our online form to begin your journey.