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Reducing stress for the spring

The spring months have arrived, and with them come new activities, opportunities, and responsibilities. It is a commonly held belief that stress and mental health issues are worse during the winter and go down in the spring as the weather gets nicer.  However studies have shown that the spring and summer months are most strongly associated with increases in stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.  Extreme stress can be a pathway to both mental and physical illness, and even take you to the hospital. April can be an excellent time to take stock of sources of stress in your work life and home life, and to begin to take steps to address them.

Here are some tips to help combat stress, both at work and home:

  • Identify the main source of the stress.  It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by multiple events or sources of stress, or just to feel exhausted in general. Sit and take stock! See what problems you may have control over, look at your options, and select one that has manageable solutions. If the source of your stress is out of your control, remind yourself of this regularly.
  • Take action. Sometimes stress in the short term can help you in completing a task or choosing what to focus on (for example, stress before a presentation can help you organize your thoughts).  However, long-term stress that leads to anxiety can be detrimental.  Take practical, tangible steps on the source of that stress.
  • Find and maintain your supports. Whether it be professional mental health experts, a friendly coworker, a close friend, or a romantic partner, having a sympathetic ear can do wonders to center yourself.  Look for people who will listen without judgement and are interested in your well-being. 
  • Learn to relax. While it may seem straightforward, building effective relaxation skills can actually be quite a process of trial and error. Just spacing out can be much less effective than an active form of self-care. Concentrated breathing exercises are an excellent way of bringing your heart rate down and clearing your mind (an example is linked at the end of the article). 
  • Exercise reduces anxiety. Spring is an excellent time to build or resume exercise habits. It can be a cathartic, short-term way of releasing stress, and is an excellent long-term way of building your physical health, and sequentially your mental health.  Even a 30 minute walk three to four times a week will surprise you with its effectiveness!

Be sure to check out the Employee Assistance Program’s Stress Management Presentation for further tips and support, including a guided breathing exercise.

The spring months have arrived, and with them come new activities, opportunities, and responsibilities. It is a commonly held belief that stress and mental health issues are worse during the winter and go down in the spring as the weather gets nicer.  However studies have shown that the spring and summer months are most strongly associated with increases in stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.  Extreme stress can be a pathway to both mental and physical illness, and even take you to the hospital. April can be an excellent time to take stock of sources of stress in your work life and home life, and to begin to take steps to address them.

Here are some tips to help combat stress, both at work and home:

  • Identify the main source of the stress.  It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by multiple events or sources of stress, or just to feel exhausted in general. Sit and take stock! See what problems you may have control over, look at your options, and select one that has manageable solutions. If the source of your stress is out of your control, remind yourself of this regularly.
  • Take action. Sometimes stress in the short term can help you in completing a task or choosing what to focus on (for example, stress before a presentation can help you organize your thoughts).  However, long-term stress that leads to anxiety can be detrimental.  Take practical, tangible steps on the source of that stress.
  • Find and maintain your supports. Whether it be professional mental health experts, a friendly coworker, a close friend, or a romantic partner, having a sympathetic ear can do wonders to center yourself.  Look for people who will listen without judgement and are interested in your well-being. 
  • Learn to relax. While it may seem straightforward, building effective relaxation skills can actually be quite a process of trial and error. Just spacing out can be much less effective than an active form of self-care. Concentrated breathing exercises are an excellent way of bringing your heart rate down and clearing your mind (an example is linked at the end of the article). 
  • Exercise reduces anxiety. Spring is an excellent time to build or resume exercise habits. It can be a cathartic, short-term way of releasing stress, and is an excellent long-term way of building your physical health, and sequentially your mental health.  Even a 30 minute walk three to four times a week will surprise you with its effectiveness!

Be sure to check out the Employee Assistance Program’s Stress Management Presentation for further tips and support, including a guided breathing exercise.

leverton

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