WEYBURN - How often do you experience stress? Daily? Weekly? According to Statics Canada, 23 per cent of Canadians over the age of 15 find most days ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely’ stressful.
International Stress Awareness Day is held on the first Wednesday of November, and helps increase awareness of the impact of stress on us in our workplace, at school, and at home and consider how to decrease its negative impact.
Stress affects us all in different ways. It’s important we know the factors and the effects in order to help ourselves and each other reduce stress and the associated risks.
A small amount of stress can be useful. It can motivate you to take action and get tasks completed. It can also make you feel alive and excited. But too much stress can cause negative effects such as changes in your mood, your body and relationships.
The Canadian Institute of Stress reports that those who take time daily to “be good to yourself” decrease their stress by almost half.
Hopefully our readers will consider “being good to yourself” every day, not just on Stress Awareness Day.
Many people might resort to screen time (watching TV, going online, playing games on your mobile phone) as a coping mechanism when they are stressed. There are some valuable e-tools to helping mitigate chronic stress, however there are also many ways to get lost in your apps, or online videos, and it can be easy to get addicted.
Dealing with stress is not just about coping with it. When you become mentally and emotionally absorbed in screen time it can result in losing track of time, or delaying tasks in both your work and personal life, or even becoming defensive about your screen use.
There is something about the mental disengagement that makes it seem like an easy escape. However, it is important to recognize when you are getting addicted to that screen time, and pushing aside healthier options for reducing and minimizing stress in your life.
What strategies can relieve stress fast? A number of helpful techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, are fast-acting tools that you can do anywhere, anytime. There is also the simple act of progressive muscle relaxation, which involves relaxing all the muscles in your body, group by group. Some people feel more relaxed by listening to calming music, while others would rather have silence. It is important to find what works for you.
Exercise is also a fantastic stress reliever that can work in minutes. Taking a walk allows you to enjoy a change of scenery and explore your community, which can get you into a different frame of mind, and brings the benefits of exercise as well.
It is important to remain aware of the stressors in your life, and find healthy ways to handle stress.