Wellness Wednesday: Finding Relief During National Stress Awareness Month
April is National Stress Awareness Month so there I no better time to serve as a reminder that we don’t have to live under so much stress.
But how can you get some relief?
The four’s Xavier Hershovitz spoke with Dr. Stephanie Fumi Hancock, PsychDNP, the CEO of Pool of Bethesda Psychiatric Health, and a bestselling author of 24 self-help books.
Her tips to reduce stress:
- Slow down: One of the reasons we become so stressed is because we are doing too many things at once. When you feel the stress coming on, take a minute to gather yourself and slowdown. Rather than multitasking, try to focus on one task at a time. Instead of looking at the big picture and becoming overwhelmed, narrow your focus to smaller, more manageable steps. Reorganize what you have to do from most urgent to least important.
- Breathe properly: When people become very stressed, their breathing becomes fast, shallow and through the chest which brings on hyperventilation. The correct way to breathe that will eliminate your stress is through the belly area. Inhale for a count of five, hold for five seconds, then slowly exhale. Do this several times and the body will become properly oxygenated and you will begin to feel better.
- Make time for self-care: Self-care is a must in these crazy and stressful times. Even just 20 minutes a day can make a world of difference and significantly reduce stress. You can sit on a park bench and veg out. Take a warm bath. Do some yoga or meditate. Even just lying down and listening to a relaxation recording or doing some muscle relaxation is very helpful. Don’t just wait until you are stressed. Make this part of your daily routine for best results. In addition, try to incorporate at least 20 minutes of exercise into your day as this is great for reducing stress.
- Eliminate the stressors: There are certain things in life that cause stress that are unavoidable like paying bills or dealing with conflicts at work. On the other hand, if there are things that cause you immense stress that you can control, take charge to eliminate or at least reduce them. For example: if you have too much on your plate, start saying ‘no’ to new requests. If you are surrounded by toxic people, get away from them. Feeling overwhelmed at work? Ask a colleague for help. When stress is present, it’s a good reminder to evaluate the things going on around you.
- Get help: There are a lot of great first steps people can take to reduce stress, but if you still don’t feel well it may be time to get professional help. I urge you to visit a mental health professional because through things like therapy, medication and alternative treatments, there is no reason to suffer.