April is stress awareness month. This annual initiative was created to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for the modern stress epidemic. Stress not only takes a toll on our mental health, but our physical and emotional health as well. It is important that we try to keep our stress levels low as we navigate day by day. Here are five helpful tips on behalf of Stephanie Burstein, MS, LMFT, a local therapist that specializes in complex cases and mindfulness, to help reduce stress.
1. Practice mindfulness. Whether it is meditation or mindfully practicing an activity, both can be helpful to train your brain to redirect itself into the present moment. This redirection helps reduce stress by allowing us to focus on what we are doing at the moment rather than splitting our attention on what we are doing and worried thoughts.
2. Stay Connected. Relationships are so important for our health. New studies show that engaging in friendship improves cardiovascular functioning, the functioning of the immune system, as well as reduces stress, and improves cognitive and mental health.
3. Stay active. Although it can be easy to withdraw physically and mentally when we are struggling with stress, movement is essential in stress reduction. Finding time to do at least one activity a day can be life changing. Movement does not have to be intense exercise, but instead a quick 20 minute walk, a yoga class, playing outside with your kids, walking your dog, going for a swim, or dancing to a few songs!
4. Balanced eating. This is key to stress reduction, when we skip meals we actually throw our body into emergency mode or keep it in emergency mode if we are already anxious. It is important to make sure we are eating a variety of fruit, vegetables, protein, and carbs. When we feed our bodies we feed our brains and it can help calm the nervous system.
5. Get enough sleep. Making sure we prioritize our sleep hygiene is important. Too much or too little sleep has a negative effect on our brains and is a huge vulnerability for increased stress. Some quick tips for better sleep includes turning off emails and other work activities an hour or earlier before bedtime, or quiet time like reading and meditation.
As we navigate during these difficult times, we hope these tips will help others better cope with any new found stress. Take this time to slow down and rebalance while keeping your mental and physical health top priorities. On behalf of the entire Globaltech team, we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.