April 16th is National Stress Awareness Day so I want to take some time to talk about what stress is and how you can practice self care when you're feeling stressed.
I don't have the magical answer, but I do have a few realistic ways you can work towards reducing stress and living your best life.
What is Stress?
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) says that "stress is a response to environmental pressures or demands (“stressors”), in particular when we feel they are a threat to our coping strategies or well-being." (Read More)
While stress can be motivating, it can also be debilitating.
What is the Difference Between Stress and Anxiety?
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that "The difference between them is that stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress." (Read More)
Self Care Rituals for Stress.
Mental Health Support.
While almost everyone experiences stress, if you're feeling chronically stressed, it may be beneficial (it probably will be) to look into seeing a therapist, even for a short time period.
Everyone handles stress differently and a therapist can help you figure out what's causing the stress and how you can cope. They can also help you recognize distorted thinking patterns like trying to achieve perfection or catastrophizing events.
As someone who has seen two different and both wonderful therapists, I highly recommend looking into it. If you can't afford one, look into your work benefits and look for counseling clinics in your area.
Planning ahead can help alleviate a lot of stress because it allows me to make an action plan for the things that I need to do. It helps me keep track of to do's, assignments, projects, deadlines, and important events. By using a planner I'm able to write it all down instead of cluttering up my mental space.
Take Time Daily and Weekly for Self Care.
Every morning I spend twenty minutes reading and drinking tea. This allows me to start my day with a sense of calm and it allows me to take time for myself. While you may not be able to do this at the beginning of your day, try to find just twenty minutes in your day to take a walk, read, or do something that brings you meditative joy.
I also take time to work out, grocery shop, and prepare food to help my body adapt to stress.
Hang Out with The People You Love.
While I'm an introvert and spending time with people can be draining, it can also be energizing if they're people that I love. Surrounding myself with my friends and family helps me find balance and it reminds me of what's really important.
I'd love to hear your self care rituals for handling stress so please don't hesitate to leave a comment!
Read more tips for reducing stress here.