Just relax, take a deep breath, count to 10 and breathe out. Feel better? April is stress awareness month. One month isn’t good enough to think about managing stress. We should try to manage stress all year round. Most of us know what being stressed feels like. You may feel anxious, have a sense of urgency,  have heart palpitations, or feel irritable. However, there are other signs of stress that you may not be aware of and not even realize how stressed you feel. Sometimes we just keep plugging along and ignore the stress. Here are some signs of stress that you may not be aware of:

Unfortunately, stress is a common part of life. We can choose to run away from the things that make us feel stressed, but that isn't always the healthiest way of dealing with stress and may make you more stressed. The best thing to do is learn how to manage stress. Too much stress may lead to health problems such as: heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, gastrointestinal problems, hair and skin problems, and mental health problems.

 

 

  • Problems sleeping
  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent sickness
  • Ulcers
  • Back, neck or stomach aches
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Increased use alcohol and/or drugs

 

Just Breathe

Here are some ways to manage stress:

  • Exercise: take a walk, go for a run, do some yoga. Exercise is great at reducing stress.
  • Meditate or pray: Getting into a meditation practice or prayer can help calm a busy mind.
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Reach out to someone. It is really important to talk to others, rather than isolate. 

 

 

  • Listen to soothing music
  • Slow down: take some time to enjoy your surroundings. Take a day to yourself.
  • Have gratitude: write down in a journal things you're grateful for or have a small object that you carry with you and every time you touch it think of something for which you are grateful.