Every year in April we observe Stress Awareness Month. A month that is dedicated to revealing the complications that are associated with stress and healthy ways to manage it. There are times when our lives become stressful- it is something that is unavoidable, and it feels as though a huge weight is on your chest. During these times the body can provide many different signs that it is under a great amount of stress. You can become irritable, suffer from stiff muscles and joints, have frequent headaches and stomach pains, and experience insomnia. Living a stress filled life can also have more serious complications to our health, including depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and heart disease. This month, we want to provide you with a few tips that may help you manage the stress in your life.

Tip 1: Assess the Situation. Look at what exactly is causing your stress. Is it something that is out of your control? If so, try taking a step back and letting go of the stress. It is part of the human condition to worry about items and topics that are utterly unchangeable. Are you stressed by traffic in the morning? Are you worried or concerned that your favorite sports team will not enter the playoffs? Besides leaving a little early to beat traffic, you can’t control certain outcomes.

Tip 2: Distract Yourself. There are times when working on a project or dealing with a situation can seem completely unmanageable. Our instincts tell us we need to fix something right away and then spend countless hours worrying about the situation. Instead, try to find something that will distract you. Indulge in a hobby, read a book, or go for a run. Choose an enjoyable activity that will help relieve your stress.

Tip 3: Create a Schedule. Stress can often be linked to feeling as though there are many tasks that need to be accomplished but not knowing where to start or not having enough time to complete them all. Creating a schedule can help manage your time and reduce stress. It is also good to include “me” time in your schedule. Taking the time to care about oneself and participate in tasks that bring joy is key to fighting stress. It can be a small item done first thing in the morning, on a lunch break, or before going to sleep.

Tip 4: Healthy Life. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by sleeping well, eating well-balanced meals and exercising regularly are great ways to fight stress. Proper sleep ensures that the mind and body are properly rested and ready for the day. If you eat meals that are healthy and full of nutrients, it will keep the body healthy, even when facing stress. Exercising releases endorphins which are excellent at combating the feeling of stress.

Tip 5: Relationships. Nurturing and creating lasting relationships is essential to managing stress. Having a friend, family member, or significant other to talk when stressed is sometimes all that is needed to feel relief. Stress can even cloud judgment at times and have someone that offers insight and advice can relieve the tension that stress causes.

Tip 6: Your Doctor. A certain amount of anxiety and stress is normal, but if you find yourself stressed out constantly you may need to consult your primary care physician. Please, talk to your doctor about anything you feel is impacting your physical and mental health. If needed, your physician may refer you to another doctor who can help you get back to living your life without overwhelming anxiety and stress.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you are feeling stressed out. It is important to manage stress in a constructive way so that it does not impact your health. The next time you feel tense, try removing yourself from the situation and indulging in a healthy pleasurable activity like drawing, reading, or talking to a friend. If you are concerned that the stress might be affecting your health or the health or a loved one, Gonzaba Medical Group can help. Our dedicated doctors and staff members are here to help everyone that walks through our doors and we would be delighted to assist you.