April is Stress Awareness Month – Here are Five Tips to Reduce Yours
When you think of April, you probably think of events like Easter, Earth Day, and maybe even spring cleaning. But, did you know that April is also Stress Awareness Month? The annual designation has been observed since 1992, but it has likely never felt more important and needed than it does today.
Juggling the increasing responsibilities and demands of work, home life, and societal expectations can take a toll on our energy and lead to overwhelm, burnout, and mental health problems. While the long-term conditions of chronic stress can be risky, taking control of your stress levels can ensure you don’t let it get that far.
Stress Awareness Month aims to raise awareness of the causes and cures for our current stress epidemic. Below are five simple tips to help reduce your stress in honor of Stress Awareness Month.
There are countless benefits to working out daily, but one of the top takeaways is reducing your stress. You don’t need to hire a personal trainer or spend two hours at the gym every day to see results. Research shows that even just 30 minutes of exercise can have great benefits.
So, whether you choose to run jog around your neighborhood, use some equipment at the gym, or join group workout classes, you can have full control of curing your stress, boosting your mood, and living a healthier life.
Eat a balanced diet
Exercise and eating seem to go hand in hand, and for good reason. Like exercise, there are many benefits to eating healthy, especially when it comes to managing your stress. Unfortunately, our diet seems to be one of the first things to go when we’re going through a particularly stressful chapter in our lives.
If this often happens to you, just remember to keep things simple. There’s no need to add additional stress by setting unrealistic expectations. Stock your pantry and fridge with healthy snacks and easy-to-prepare meals, get rid of tempting unhealthy treats and make healthy eating accessible by prepping your meals and snacks in advance.
Self-care is often seen as a marketing scheme promoted by beauty brands and spas trying to sell the idea of pampering and relaxation. While, yes, treating yourself is a big part of self-care, it doesn’t always mean a day at a luxurious spa. Sometimes, something as simple as making time for a nighttime skincare routine is a great self-care option that requires little investment from you and offers great benefits for your mental health. In this case, your stress.
Figure out what self-care means for you and carve out time in your busy schedule to prioritize it. You’ll be grateful you did.
Spend time with friends and family
When we’re dealing with debilitating stress, we often tend to isolate ourselves when we should be doing the opposite. Reaching out and connecting with friends and family is essential to managing stress. Not only will their company help boost your mood, but talking through your overwhelming thoughts can help take some of the pressure off your shoulders.
Say ‘no’ more often
One of the leading causes of stress is work, and not just having a job, but the overwhelming responsibilities and pressures to complete them. While workloads vary by position, ranking, and industry, we can probably all agree that the amount of work tends to pile over time. If this is true for you, it’s time to learn to say no.
Speak up and advocate for yourself. Saying no doesn’t make you rude or lazy. Saying no makes you self-aware, responsible, and, with time, stress-free.