Did you know that the first Wednesday in November is National Stress Awareness Day? If you’re like most people, you’re probably pretty aware of when you’re experiencing stress, but you may not be aware of all of the effects that stress can have on you. Typically, people often react to stress in unhealthy ways, such as by overeating or drinking alcohol or using drugs to relieve the stress.
In the short term, stress can have serious impacts on your mental, emotional, and physical health. It’s important to learn how to recognize excessive stress and how to deal with it in healthy, effective ways. Some stress is unavoidable, so knowing how to manage and mitigate stress is a necessity for a healthy life. Take a look at some ways you can promote stress awareness and observe National Stress Awareness Day 2019.
1. Foster a Culture of Healthy Stress Management
Stress management is more than just an individual need. Living in a culture that promotes and enables healthy stress management helps ensure that people both know how to manage stress and are able to take the time and action that they need to manage their stress.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the culture does not encourage stress management. You can take steps to change the culture, however, and National Stress Awareness Day is a good time to start looking for actions you can take. Think about ways you can encourage and implement stress management into your culture.
For example, if you’re in a position to do so at work, you could implement meditation breaks or time for daily chair yoga (and if you’re not in a position to implement these changes yourself, you can still suggest and promote them to your superiors.
If you’re a teacher, you could look into bringing standing desks into the classroom or establishing “brain breaks” where students can get up, move around, and stretch their arms and legs before settling back down – long periods of sitting can be stressful for students, and physical activities can help relieve stress.
2. Host a National Stress Awareness Day Event
National Stress Awareness Day might be a good day to hold a community or campus health fair, or a similar event that focuses mainly on stress. This could be a way to get more information about stress out to a lot of people all at once. You could distribute information about how to differentiate between good stress and bad stress, the potential health effects of too much stress, different ways to manage stress, and how to find help dealing with stress.
This type of event would be a good place to teach simple meditation techniques and yoga poses, breathing exercises, and time management tips, as well as helping participants learn where to go in the community if they want more detailed or in-depth information. You may be able to partner with local healthcare providers, yoga instructors, and other professionals who want to bring more information about stress and stress management to the wider community.
3. Encourage Your Children to Talk Openly About Their Emotions
It’s not just adults who experience stress. Children and teenagers also have stress in their lives, and they’re often not taught how to manage it effectively. But teaching your children how to handle stress from a young age can not only help them while they’re young – they’ll take those skills into adulthood and be happier and healthier for it.
Talk to your children and ask them to tell you what makes them feel stressed out, nervous, and overwhelmed. Encourage them to continue to tell you about the things that make them feel stressed instead of bottling it up. Teach them stress management techniques including, but not limited to:
- Deep breathing
- Responding with assertion, not aggression
Motivate them to practice these techniques regularly, just like they practice personal hygiene habits. This way, when they encounter stress, they’ll already have tools in place to deal with it.
4. Inspire, Motivate and Lead by Example
Promoting stress awareness and stress management is great, but sometimes the best thing that you can do to promote stress awareness is to acknowledge your own stress and take the time to take care of yourself. You may find that by doing this, you can lead by example. Your children, loved ones, and friends who see you taking the time to prioritize yourself and manage your own stress will learn and feel empowered to do the same for themselves. And what better day to set a good example of how to manage stress than stress awareness day?
Think about some of the things that you could be doing on National Stress Awareness Day that would relieve your own stress. You could sign yourself up for a yoga class, take a day off and spend it doing a hobby or activity you enjoy, go someplace that makes you feel peaceful, like the beach, a park, or the library, or just schedule some time for yourself to take a nap that day.
Perhaps most importantly, you could find something to say “no” to that day. Taking on too much is a common source of stress for many people, and that often happens because you’re afraid to say “no”. You don’t want to be seen as unhelpful, ungenerous, or unambitious, so you say yes to everything – when your friends want you to help them move, when your child’s school wants you to volunteer, when your boss wants you to work extra hours.
Those can all be good things to do, but not all the time and not if you’re doing them all at once. Then, they just cause extra stress. If you’re feeling overextended, make a pact with yourself that you’ll say “no” to these types of requests on National Stress Awareness Day. Once you do it a few times, you’ll feel more comfortable saying “no” more often. You don’t have to turn down every request you get, but you don’t have to accept all of them either.
However you choose to celebrate National Stress Awareness Day, the important thing is that you make stress awareness a priority in your life and in the lives of the people you care about.
Teen and adolescent residential treatment program that has the privilege of serving families from throughout the US and abroad.