Counselor’s Corner: National Stress Awareness Month

April is National Stress Awareness Month. Read on for some ideas you can implement to reduce your level of stress.

Create a Stress-Free Zone
Every day when I get home from work I make my bed. After making it I feel a sense of calm that at least one area is clean and one thing is done. My mom gave me this advice, and I didn’t think it would make a big difference in my life, but as silly as it sounds, it does!National Stress Awareness Month logo Finding one area in your house, apartment, or office where you can create a sense of calm and order can help you feel less stress. This area could be a section of a room or the room itself. Fill this space with things that bring you joy. Add candles or a reed diffuser with a calming scent, such as lavender.

Prioritize Self-Care
National Stress Awareness Month can be a great time for you to refocus your efforts for self-care. Do something that you enjoy and that makes you feel good. If you are busy and have not been making time for self-care, schedule a time for indulging in something you enjoy. Schedule a manicure or pedicure. Buy or borrow a book and schedule some sacred reading time. Try out a yoga class at a local studio or health center. Take a walk with a family member, colleague, a dog, or a friend. Check out my post 10 Ways to Rest, Relax, and Rejuvenate This Summer for more ideas.

puffy clouds deep breathJust Breathe
When we feel anxious and stressed, we tend to take shallow, quick breaths. Simply slowing down and focusing on your breathing can decrease your level of anxiety. Stop and take a deep belly breath—breathing in to expand your diaphragm. Slowly exhale your breath. Repeat until you feel your body getting calmer. You can do this anytime you are feeling stressed. Sometimes just stopping and being mindful of your breath can help you focus and feel better. You can also encourage children and young adults to practice focusing on their breathing to feel calmer and more relaxed.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal Occupational Health website has lots of additional resources for being aware of and managing your stress.

What is your favorite way to reduce stress?

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About Danielle R. Schultz

School Counselor blogger for Free Spirit Publishing Blog
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