Since 1992, the month of April has been National Stress Awareness Month, during which health professionals join forces to increase public awareness of the causes of unhealthy stress and some ways to cope with it. Let’s be clear that some stress is helpful in motivating preparation and performance. But this year, we have new sources of stress in dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic, including isolation, financial insecurity from closed business and lost jobs, uncertainty as to the future and the duration of the pandemic, to name a few. Because not all these sources of stress are healthy and many of them are beyond our individual control, here are some common and easy ways to cope with stress:
- Exercise. A walk or run in the fresh air produces many health benefits, including an increase in endorphins that promote a sense of well-being.
- Sleep. Nothing kills a sense of well-being quite like inadequate sleep. Rest is important for cell rejuvenation and many other health benefits.
- Pets. That scratch behind the ears of a dog is just one way to evoke the unconditional love that pets give us and that is a powerful de-stressor.
- Meditate. You don’t have to be a guru to achieve the benefits of meditation. Take a yoga class and receive not only instruction on mindfulness but the benefits of stretching and assuming different poses. If this is too much for you, spend five minutes during the day to sit in stillness and focus on breathing. To help prepare for a good night’s sleep that you need, take a long, hot bath with no interruptions to your thoughts than the sound of water.