In case you missed the memo (because you were too busy stressing out about your stressful life), April is National Stress Awareness Month. Right now, doctors and healthcare professionals across the country are joining forces to increase public awareness about the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. We all know that stress is a part of life, and it can even be good for us. Stress helps us set priorities and goals, provides energy, and when it gets completely out of hand, forces us to gain perspective. But left unchecked, or under extenuating circumstances (hello, tax season!), it can have devastating consequences; like heart disease, obesity, depression and anxiety.
The good news is, there are lots of things you can do to lower your stress levels and prevent any of that from happening. We’ve found some great resources on the web to help you unwind and relax when you find your internal thermometer reaching red.
volunteermatch.org: Volunteering and giving back provides helpful, affirming feelings upon the person who commits their time and service as well as to the person receiving aid. In that same respect, volunteering is a proven, health-improving stress reliever. VolunteerMatch provides volunteer information and listings in your local community.
ted.com: Most of what we get worked up about stems from listening to the same, worrisome track in our heads over and over and over again. Tune out by listening to an inspiring TedTalk, instead. These uplifting speeches will help you zone out and focus on something you’re interested in. You can search for topics and a listing of speakers will appear for you to choose from.
calm.com: Try tuning into relaxing music instead of talk radio when you feel anxiety rising. You can choose between a 2-, 10- or 20-minute completely free guided meditations while at the office at Calm.com. Put in your headphones and take a quick break. There’s also a phone app.
Of course, these are all quick fixes to normal, relatively low stress levels. If you feel like things are becoming unmanageable, contact your healthcare provider for help.