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Self-Care Tips for Stress Awareness Month

April 01, 2021

Erin Dos Reis, LCSW, Primary Therapist 

Chronic stress can cause depression, anxiety, insomnia,  headaches and other symptoms that affect our health. During Stress Awareness Month, which was created in 1992 to bring attention to the effects of stress and beneficial coping techniques, HopeWay is offering helpful tips to reduce and manage stress.

Stress relief comes in two different ways; proactively and reactively. We need to prepare our body and mind to be in the best place to take on stressors throughout the day.

How to prepare ourselves to deal with stress:

  • Follow a sleep routine. Go to bed and wake up around the same time every day.
  • Drink water and limit caffeine intake. Caffeine can increase anxiety.
  • Practice mindful eating. 
  • Engage in regular mindfulness. Be present in daily life and meditate. 
  • Make self-care a priority and set boundaries around it. It is ok to say “no” to others if you have planned to engage in self-care. Self-care is not selfish.
  • Exercise regularly. Consider adding yoga to your routine since it incorporates exercise and meditation.

How to manage stress and anxiety:

  • Take a deep breath. To help regulate your breathing, practice box breathing – inhale for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for four counts, hold for four counts.
  • Move your body. Going for a walk or jog can be meditative.
  • Don’t suffer in silence. Talk about it, even if you feel like the problem can’t be solved. When you talk about the stressors, hormones that help reduce negative feelings associated with stress are released. If someone isn’t available to talk, write it down. 
  • Prioritize your basic needs first, and then examine next steps. Set small manageable goals.
  • Keep a balanced schedule and avoid throwing all of your attention into managing the stressor. Being able to step away from a stressful project or situation is necessary to maintain a healthy balance.
  • Be aware of irrational thoughts. If you are assuming the worst possible outcome, chances are there are other less extreme outcomes that could possibly happen. Sit down and break down the different scenarios. Or put the thought on trial by examining the evidence – not your feelings – for and against the thought.

We frequently say that we don’t want to feel stressed; however, we need a certain level of stress and anxiety in order to get anything done. Without stress we might not hand in a homework assignment or project at work on time. The goal is to be able to manage stress so we are still able to function in a healthy manner.

 

Learn More About Stress Disorders

 

Editor’s note: This blog post is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.