April is Stress Awareness Month, which aims to increase awareness about both the causes and cures for our stress epidemic.
Stress can be emotional, physical or mental and it can present itself in a number of ways, such as exhaustion, irritability, nervousness or anger. Stress is our bodies response to the challenges we face at work, as parents and caregivers, in relationships and in life. Although stress can be helpful in the short term, by reminding us to pause and listen to our bodies, it can become harmful to our health and well-being if it is persistent or increasing over a period of time. This is why it is helpful to know the signs of stress, and how best to manage it.
Stress looks different for everyone. Some common ways stress may present itself are;
Persistent feelings of worry or anxiety
Changes in eating habits
Changes in sleep routine
Muscle tension and headaches
Feeling drained and burnt out
& much more.
"Self care means giving yourself permission to pause."
How we manage stress is also different person to person. Some ways to help manage stress are;
Track your stressors
Be mindful of your responses
Have a stress management plan in place
Develop healthy habits
Take time to rest and recharge
Listen to your body
Make time for hobbies and things you enjoy
Move your body in a way that feels good to you
Prioritise quality time alone and with loved ones
Reach out to a friend or family member
If stress is something you struggle with, counselling can help. Sometimes people present to counselling with high stress levels and low awareness as to what is causing it. Counselling can give you a safe and supportive space to sort through your thoughts and feelings and learn to recognise your stressors. A good counsellor can then provide you with tools and strategies to better manage your stress and improve your quality of life.