Did you know that April is National Stress Awareness Month? No doubt this is a direct correlation with April being synonymous with the stresses of tax season! Whether it’s dealing with your taxes and finances that has you feeling worried or something else life has thrown your direction, we have some insightful information and tips to help you identify and cope with the things causing you stress.
Physical Signs of Stress
If you’ve been feeling lethargic or often fighting off stubborn colds or sickness, you may be experiencing the physical symptoms of stress. Everyone is different and won’t have the same reaction, but here are a few symptoms that may be indicators that you’re feeling stressed:
- Tension – neck or back pain
- Upset stomach
- Difficulty sleeping – staying asleep or insomnia
- Change in appetite - overeating or loss of appetite
- Increased sickness
- Irritability, moodiness, short temper
- Decreased focus
- Increased forgetfulness
Have you been feeling any of these symptoms? Take a moment to think about it and dive a little deeper into understanding how your body physically responds to stress. If you can identify your physical responses, you can find healthy ways to manage them.
How to Relieve Stress
Let’s get some of the most obvious items that will help relieve your stress on the list of to-do’s first. Exercise often, eat healthy foods and well-balanced meals, meditate or pray regularly and avoid alcohol, smoking and drugs. Making an effort to practice these habits daily will make a vast difference in reducing your stress and improving your overall health.
Here are some other things that will help reduce your stress:
Find a support system
A strong and supportive person or group of people can go a long way in helping you manage your stress. Talking about whatever is causing you worry might be a relief in and of itself, but it will also help you pinpoint the exact stressors so you can work on handling them appropriately. Seek out people you trust and can rely on to provide you with a listening ear and sound advice.
Take a deep breath. Deep breathing exercises are a great way to help you relax because when you take a deep breath, it sends a signal to your brain to relax and settle down. When you’re upset or stressed, your breathing changes. Instead of a deep, lung-filling breaths, you begin to take short, shallow breaths. Research some deep breathing exercises to help reduce your levels of anxiety.
There are a lot of responsibilities to manage and sometimes we take on more than we can handle. Make time to recharge yourself and always assess the worth of any potential commitments. Your time and efforts are valuable and every “yes” is a “no” to something else. Take vacations, read, participate in the things you are passionate about, recharge yourself and learn to say “no” when necessary.
Sometimes avoiding situations that cause you anxiety and worry are unavoidable, but when it’s possible, stay away from the things that cause you stress. People, bad situations, relationships, impossibly high work load or burn out - if any of these things cause you stress, take steps to get them under control or remove them entirely from your life. Being stressed affects your physical and mental health and you are entitled to the right to take good care of your well-being.