April is Stress Awareness Month, Take Steps to Manage Your Stress for Better Mental and Physical Health
Are you feeling stressed these days? You’re not alone. The American Psychological Association and The Harris Poll recently conducted their annual “Stress in America” survey, and the results speak for themselves: “the vast majority of adults (87%) agreed it feels like there has been a constant stream of crises over the last two years, and more than seven in 10 (73%) said they are overwhelmed by the number of crises facing the world right now.”
Stress can be Normal
Stress is a normal part of life and sometimes even helps us (who hasn’t felt that rush after procrastinating then completing a deadline at the eleventh hour?). But when stress is ongoing or long-lasting like we’ve experienced over the past few years, it can have severe impacts ton one’s health.
April Stress Awareness Month
April is Stress Awareness Month, so what better time than now to take inventory of your stressors and make some adjustments to manage them?
2 Main Types of Stress
As you look at what causes stress in your life, consider that there are two main types of stress:
- Acute stress is short-term stress that dissipates quickly. For example, when you slam on your brakes and avoid an accident.
- Chronic stress is stress that lasts for weeks or months. Perhaps it’s due to caring for an aging parent or having troubles at work.
When your body is under stress, it releases a surge of hormones – namely, adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline raises your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and boosts energy supplies.
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, increases sugars in your blood and it alters everything from your immune system response to your reproductive system. While these reactions are your body’s way of protecting itself, enduring stress on an ongoing basis can have negative implications for your health.
Over time, when your body is experiencing chronic stress, you are at risk for health problems such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, reproductive concerns, and more. You may experience physiological problems, too, such as digestive issues, headaches, sleeplessness, weight gain, and more.
Coping with Stress
So now that we’ve talked about the negative, let’s talk about ways to keep these unpleasant effects of stress at bay.
First, it can help to make a list of your stressors. You may be surprised by the number of stressful situations that crop up once you write it all down! After that, examine what you can do to minimize or eliminate the stressors.
For instance, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list at a certain time of day, perhaps asking a partner to help or outsourcing some of your responsibilities can make things less hectic for you. Or maybe you never have time to exercise (which is a proven stress-reducer!). Consider waking up 20 minutes earlier to fit in a morning walk.
Focus on What You Can Control
While there are some external factors – such as inflation – that may feel out of your control to manage; hopefully, this exercise will help bring to light the stressors in your life that are within your control. The key here is to be intentional with how you’re prioritizing yourself and stress relief.
And speaking of waking up earlier, getting a good night’s sleep is essential for keeping stress levels manageable. Of course, that’s easier said than done when your anxiety is getting the better of you.
Our Calm chocolate supplements are remarkably helpful for those moments. The L-Theanine in our Calm supplements is a natural but powerful amino acid that increases one’s sense of calm and relaxation. Studies have shown that L-Theanine reduces stress and anxiety in individuals experiencing stressful situations.
By taking a few Calm chocolates (any time of day; they don’t cause drowsiness!), you’ll quickly feel some of that stress melt away. Plus, eating chocolate is a self-care act in and of itself, right? We share more about how Calm supplements work here.
Another way we love to use Calm is as a complement to our Sleep supplements. Take Calm to ease your tension that inevitably piles up as the day progresses, and then 20-45 minutes before bed, enjoy a piece or two of melatonin chocolate supplement to help you get a good night’s rest. (If you are looking for a reference on how much melatonin may be right for you, take a look at our Sweet Sleep Cheat Sheet.)
And, if stress is overwhelming you, it may be something to discuss with your healthcare provider.
Earlier this year, we also shared six tips that can help with managing stress and anxiety. Take a look and tell us how you de-stress and prioritize mental wellbeing in the comments.
Please consult with your physician prior to taking any new supplements.