National Stress Awareness Day was founded by Carole Spiers of the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) to help people recognize, manage, and reduce stress in their personal and professional lives. While a small amount of stress can be very motivating in accomplishing tasks and staying productive, we know that prolonged (and extreme) stress can lead to mental health and physical health issues.
Chronic stress, that is, failure to deal with it for a long time and remaining in a prolonged and constant feeling of stress can lead to life-threatening problems. From hypertension, heart diseases, decreased immunity, loss of sociability, and decreased mental vitality, stress is not to be taken lightly!
To break the chain reaction, National Stress Awareness Day is the first Wednesday of November to remind people and businesses that stress management is fundamental to optimum performance!
What can you do to help manage stress and balance all the responsibilities you carry?
- Start a gratitude journal. Pausing to reflect on what you’re thankful for really can create perspective and ease stressful days.
- Plan ahead. Have to bring treats to school next week or volunteer for an event? Mark your calendar in advance to run any errands, pick up items, or have something delivered. Then it won’t surprise you at 9pm the night before when you remember that the school potluck the next day.
- Take a walk. Getting outside and getting quiet can be very stress reducing. Any exercise that you enjoy can help release serotonin and lift your mood.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Plan a get-together with friends to catch up and laugh. There’s nothing like a moms’ night out to reset your week!
- Jot it down. Too much stressing you out to even remember what is it that’s so stressful? Try writing it down: then it’s all in one place and you can move through the week accomplishing one thing at a time.
- Two columns: In fact, write it down even more specifically. What can I control? What can’t I control? When you see it all on paper, you can focus on the “can control” column and remind yourself to let go of the rest.
- Talk it out. Whether it’s a friend, a mentor, a counselor, or a life coach, it always feels better to say it out loud. There’s something healing about putting words to your emotions.
This list is not conclusive and it’s not offered by a medical professional, just a busy mom with a lot on her plate who uses most of these tools to get through each hectic week. What are your favorite stress-reducing activities?