April is Stress Awareness Month

According to BrownieLocks, April is Stress Awareness Month. But, what is it?

What is Stress Anyway?

The Meriam-Webster Dictionary defines stress as “a state of mental tension and worry caused by your life, work, etc.” Basically, everything can cause stress. School, work, family, world affairs – everything!

It can hit us at any time. When we’re going to take a test or running late to the office. It can happen to anyone of any age. Sometimes, that stress can be a good thing. It can help us focus better on the task we’re doing.

What are the Symptoms of Stress?

And sometimes stress can be bad. As a mental health counselor, I see how stress can negatively impact a person. In my work with families, I find that stress can come from all sides – home, school, our neighborhood, even the world.

When I’m stressed out, I get worried, jumpy, cranky, moody. I feel like my mind is racing and can’t focus. The Center for Disease control adds that common reactions to stress are: “anger, sleep problems, body pains (headaches, stomach problems), loss of appetite, etc.”

How can you manage stress?

Because my work as a crisis counselor brings me into contact with families with severe stress, I end up absorbing some of that. And I have to work stress out of my system. The Center for Disease Control offers a variety of ways to manage stress.

For me, managing stress is about being kind to myself everyday. I do a lot of deep breathing, writing, walking, laughing, drawing, etc. Everyday, I take the time to do things that make me happy before stress hits. It’s called “self-care.” You can and should do this for yourself as well.

Do what you enjoy that’s healthy for you. Sometimes it can be as simple as going for a walk or talking to a friend. Or it can be taking a ballroom dance class like I do every week (DWTS anyone?).  It is about taking the time to be good to yourself. Because everyday brings stress, but stress doesn’t have to beat you. You can work through it and have a successful day, everyday.