April is National Stress Awareness Month! Since 1992, Stress Awareness Month has been recognized every April. This year, with everything that has happened surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it is particularly important to acknowledge. It’s critical to learn how to cope with stress, as this will help with overall mental health during difficult situations.
At Feinberg Consulting, we believe that mental health should always be prioritized and taken seriously, especially during these challenging times. That’s why we’ve put together some tips to help cope with stress.
Stick to a routine
Creating a routine will make situations more controllable and predictable, resulting in less stress. Every time we have to make a decision, we are adding some stress to our lives, and regular routines help to minimize this uncertainty from our day. According to research, predictable, repetitive routines are calming and help reduce anxiety. Plan out your days beginning with when you wake up: make time for meals, exercise, organize work schedules, make time for self-care, spend time with loved ones, and get proper sleep.
Make time for self-care
When life gets busy, it can be easy to overlook making time for yourself. Whether you take ten minutes out of your day to meditate, read a book, get outside for a walk, take a bath, or listen to music, there are many ways to practice self-care. Allotting yourself time each day to relax will significantly reduce stress and help with overall mental health.
There are many benefits to exercising, and it can be as simple as taking a quick break to go for a walk outside. By moving your body and getting your blood flowing, endorphins are released and can quickly improve your mood and reduce stress. Exercise will not only improve your mood, but it will also help to improve your sleep, which is critical in managing stress.
Eat a healthy diet
There are many benefits to eating a healthy, balanced diet. This includes lowering stress levels, building your immune system, leveling your mood, and lowering blood pressure. Antioxidants are particularly beneficial in protecting your cells against the damage that chronic stress can cause. Research has found that to help reduce stress, it’s also important to get enough vitamin C, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Get proper sleep
Lack of sleep is a key cause of stress. It’s very important to follow a sleep routine to get the proper amount of rest each night. This will help calm and restore the body, improve concentration, regulate mood, and sharpen judgment and decision-making. Research has found that lack of sleep results in making us more emotionally reactive, impulsive, and more sensitive to negative stimuli. If you have trouble calming your mind before bed, turning electronics off 30-60 minutes prior to bedtime, practicing meditation, or reading a book can help.
Avoid alcohol and drugs
Alcohol and drugs are not a healthy way to cope with stress. Although having a drink may feel like a temporary fix after a long day, there can be many detrimental consequences long-term. Substance use interferes with sleep, can increase anxiety and stress levels, and can result in addiction and serious health conditions. Not only can substance use cause serious physical and mental health issues, but it can also interfere with work, relationships, and finances. It’s best to find other ways to cope with stress, whether that be exercising, developing a routine, spending time with friends and family, or taking time for self-care.
Talk with loved ones
It’s important to realize that when you’re feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. Stay connected and talk to friends and family about what is causing stress in your life. It’s important to surround yourself with those who are ready to listen and support you. A reassuring voice can put everything in perspective and provide a sense of calm.
Recognize when more help is necessary
Don’t be afraid to seek help if your stress feels unmanageable and if you think you may be suffering from other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression. If you need to speak to a professional, there is nothing to feel ashamed of.
Are you or a loved one struggling with stress management or a mental health condition? Our team at Feinberg Consulting is here to help you find the proper treatment. Speak to an experienced professional today at 877.538.5425.