April is Stress Awareness Month. It’s also the end of school semesters, IRS filing time, and the beginning of Austin’s 6-month long summer. It’s important to check in during busy seasons and assess your stress and coping levels. Monitoring your stress levels could literally save your life.
Did you know that everyday stressors can increase your chances of a major health crisis? And reducing your stress levels can vastly increase wellness? Here are a few things that you can do every day, or every hour if needed, to reduce your stress level.
- Walk and talk! Grab a coworker or a neighbor and go for a walk around your office building or around the block. You’ll get your body moving and talk some stuff out.
- Take the stairs. Park further away from the building. Get blood flowing through your biggest muscle groups (your legs and back).
- Break a sweat in your garden. You know you’ve been neglecting that backyard anyways, which is probably adding to your stress level. Win win.
- All of the technologies that enrich our lives and make our lives easier can keep us up at night. Keep your smart phone somewhere other than your nightstand. Shut off those late night shows (because most of the good parts are available online the next day anyways).
- Stop hitting the snooze bar! That extra little chunk of time isn’t doing you any favors. To get the full benefits of sleep, you need a full sleep cycle. A full sleep cycle is typically 90 minutes.
- Try to keep your caffeine habit in check and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to “come down” from it. That 4pm coffee drink will probably get you through the afternoon, but it will also get you through the evening, and the wee hours of the morning, too.
- Talk to your doctor about any issues you have sleeping. Even something as simple as snoring can mean you need extra help with sleep issues.
- You’ll need a quiet place and a few minutes. Just five minutes at a time can be beneficial.
- We’re bombarded by images and sounds constantly. Overstimulation can lead to fatigue and mood swings.
- How often do you get the opportunity to ground yourself and start from scratch? Every day. You have that opportunity every day.
- Pro-tip: Have some ear plugs ready just in case your quiet place is your office bathroom stall. Yes, you can get centered in public if need be.
- Sometimes you need to talk to someone about stress. Maybe the person you talk to can help you see your problems from another angle or be supportive in some other way. And maybe you just need to say things out loud.
- Maybe you’re not comfortable talking to coworkers or family about certain things. Professionals like counselors or therapists are trained to listen to you and help when possible.