Coping With Stress Starts With Awareness
Stress. Just hearing the word can be stressful because it brings up such strong feelings and memories. Almost everyone experiences some degree of stress on a regular basis, but when it severely interferes with your work and home life, it’s time to take some steps to address your stress. That’s what Stress Awareness Month, observed every April, is all about.
Look Out for the Signs of Stress
The important first step is to recognize signs of stress in your life, which may include:
- Feeling irritation, anger or restlessness.
- Feeling uncertain, nervous or anxious.
- Having racing thoughts or constant worry.
- Feeling tired, overwhelmed or burned out.
- Feeling unmotivated or unfocused.
- Feeling sad, depressed or anxious.
- Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
- Having trouble with memory and/or concentrating.
- Making bad decisions.
While there are many ways to cope with stress, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these tips as a starting point:
- Keep a regular sleep schedule.
- Take breaks from work to stretch, exercise or check in with your supportive colleagues, coworkers, family and friends.
- Spend time outdoors, either being physically active or relaxing.
- If you work from home, set a regular time to end your work for the day, if possible.
- Practice mindfulness techniques.
- Do things you enjoy during non-work hours.
What to Do When Stress Becomes Overwhelming
Unfortunately, unresolved stress can sometimes push a person beyond the point of mild inconvenience into a crisis situation. According to WebMD, it’s time to seek professional help if:
- Your work performance is suffering.
- You’re using alcohol, drugs or tobacco to deal with your stress.
- Your eating or sleeping habits change significantly.
- You’re behaving in ways that are dangerous to yourself, including self-mutilation.
- You have irrational fears and anxiety.
- You have trouble getting through your daily responsibilities.
- You’re withdrawing from friends and family.
- You think about suicideor hurting other people.
PLEASE NOTE: If you find yourself in any of these situations, don’t hesitate to reach out to your primary care physician or another health professional. Another great option is the CoolSys Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides confidential consulting services from professionals in mental health and other disciplines. To access the EAP, call 800-538-3543 or visit the program online. And don’t forget to schedule your annual physical with your primary care physician-spring is an ideal time to check in on your physical health, too!