Stress Awareness Month

Stress can be exhausting. It can cause or aggravate physical and mental health problems, and no one is immune to it. Our bodies are designed to experience stress and react to it.

There are many causes of stress. Personal difficulties such as conflict with loved ones, being alone, lack of income, worries about the future, children, or maybe problems at work like colleague interaction, an extremely demanding or insecure job. Not forgetting significant threats to our lives such as violence, disease, and grief. It’s an unavoidable side effect of our busy lives.

It’s important we have an understanding about stress so that we recognise it when it rears its ugly head. We must learn the coping strategies and what we can do to help ourselves and help others when coping with this silent opponent.

In today’s fast-paced world, recurring stress is common, but your body and mind can pay a high price if it’s not addressed. You need to set time aside to unwind.

April is Stress Awareness Month, and we at MESOA are here to help you recognise stress and learn how to improve your ability to handle it. Here are some multi-pronged, practical strategies for managing stress when times are tough.

>Identify The Cause:
Recognise what the triggers are, keep a journal and make a positive plan of how to address them. For example, what situations are you in that make you feel physically and mentally agitated? Once you have worked this out, you can avoid these situations when possible.

>Manage Your Time:
Making priorities will help you use your time well. Making a day-to-day schedule and managing your time correctly will help ensure you don’t feel overwhelmed by everyday tasks and deadlines, and in the long run, jobs will seem more manageable and less stressful.

Remind yourself of your skills and strengths and all the achievements you have gained. Also, remember all the efforts you have made during this challenging time and how far you have already come.

>Practice Relaxation:
Deep breathing and meditation are good ways to calm your body and brain. Taking short breaks daily to refocus will help you find peace from within and hush the stress.

>Exercise Daily:
Make sure you take time to walk or run outside in the fresh air or take a bike ride, join a dance class, hit the gym. Daily exercise naturally produces stress-relieving hormones in your body and releases ‘happy’ hormones, increasing feelings of well-being and improving overall physical health. So whatever you do, just make sure it’s fun.

>Eat well:
We all know what’s good for us. Whole grains, vegetables, fresh fruit, and water are the foundation for healthy living. Eating well will make your body feel good and stabilise your moods too.

>Sleep Well:
Too little sleep can play a huge factor in your health problems. Symptoms of some mental health conditions, like mania in bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety, can all be triggered by not getting enough sleep. We know being stressed can keep you up at night, but some pre-bed
relaxation will help. Be sure to get a sleep time routine written up and stick to it.

>Avoid The Bad Stuff:
Alcohol and drugs won’t help with stress; in fact, they will worsen it. If you’re struggling with substance abuse, educate yourself and get help.

>You Time:
Schedule time for yourself, for something that makes you feel good. Read a book, go to the movies, get a workout in, get a massage, take your dog for a walk. Self-care is so important for your mental health and will help battle any stresses in your life. Just forget the world for a moment and concentrate on you.

>Just Talk:
Whether it’s to friends, family, a counsellor, support group, airing out and talking will 100% help you. Share your stresses and take advice and inspiration off people that have been through and experienced similar things.

If you feel you struggle with stress and it’s affecting your daily life, be sure to follow some of these tips above, which will help elevate the tension.

We want to help our community in their efforts to cope with stress so make sure you reach out. Sometimes it’s easier talking to someone that’s not in your inner circle, so please know that we're here for you; we are here to talk.

Get in touch today via our email or our social channels.

You are not alone.