APRIL IS STRESS AWARENESS MONTH
Tips to Slay Stress
Since 1992, April has been Stress Awareness Month. As a nation, we have good reason to be stressed. We have reached the two-year anniversary of the Covid 19 Pandemic, war rages in Ukraine, gas prices are off the charts, many of our cities are filled with violence, and corporations are understaffed, forcing many of us to work longer hours. This is the perfect recipe for stress that
can eventually impact multiple aspects of the body and mind. Learning how to cope with stress while finding healthy ways to deal with challenging situations can lead to a positive life. Long-term stress can cause more than mental issues. Anything ranging from headaches to stomach disorders and depression, even severe issues like stroke and heart disease, can be rooted in stress.
How should you manage stress when you begin to feel overwhelmed?
Our expert, Dr. Haley Perlus, sports and performance psychology Ph.D. outlines ways to slay stress.
Find your purpose
One way to manage stress is to find your purpose and recognize what speaks to you. If you want to follow your passion for photography, start a page that displays your work. Build a community around you based on shared interests. Surround yourself with positive people. Turn hurt into healing, if you had a tough childhood, volunteer to become a big brother/sister.
Your stress levels can decrease significantly by finding something you enjoy and taking advantage of it.
Shut off that Smartphone
Many of us are overly dependent on our phones or computers. Using them too much or too long can increase stress levels, and studies have shown this. Excessive smartphone use has been linked with mental health disorders and depression. When used too close to bedtime, it can impede falling asleep.
Exercise is nature’s drug. All too often, when we are stressed out, people tell us to rest and relax. While there’s nothing wrong with that, sometimes, what we need to do is get moving. There is science beyond why exercise reduces stress and even anxiety. It reduces levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. It kicks up the production of endorphins which are mood elevators. That is why you often hear the phrase, “runner’s high.”
Learn to let go
It's important to recognize when a situation is out of your control and shift your focus to something you can control. For example, if you're waiting to hear back on a job opportunity, there's no longer anything you can do but wait to hear from the employer. Instead, shift your focus to things you can control, like cleaning your space, clearing your head and continuing to pursue other jobs in the meantime.
Accept what you need
What situations make you feel mentally and physically frustrated or uneasy? Learn how to recognize your triggers and how you can avoid them. Once you become self-aware, you can avoid them when it's reasonable and cope when you can't.
Prioritizing activities you enjoy can help you make the most out of your time. Creating a day-to-day schedule can help ensure you don't feel overwhelmed by everyday tasks and deadlines while allowing yourself to make time for what you enjoy doing. This can help create a healthy balance between work and fun!
Deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are good ways to calm yourself. When you take time to focus on your needs and get a mental break, you can look at things from a fresh perspective. Taking a break when necessary to refocus can benefit you in the moment and in the long run.
About Dr. Perlus:
Dr. Haley Perlus knows what it takes to overcome barriers and achieve peak performance. As an elite alpine ski racer, she competed and trained with the best in the world, pushing herself to the limits time and time again. Now, with a PhD in sport psychology, Haley continues to push boundaries and drive peak performance, helping athletes and Fortune 100 executives reach their goals.
Haley works with individuals and teams to manage and expand their energy capacity while increasing resilience, focus and drive. Dr. Perlus is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, professor, author and consultant to Division I athletes. She has spoken at many events some of which include VISTAGE, Tec Canada, Elite Fitness and Performance Summit and Trilogy Athletes. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado lecturing on applied sport and exercise psychology at the graduate level. She has authored several books including The Ultimate Achievement Journal and The Inside Drive and her articles have been featured in publications such as Thrive Magazine, Fitness Magazine, IDEA Fitness Journal, EpicTimes, Telluride Inside, MyVega and BeachBody®.
Dr. Perlus earned her PhD at the University of Northern Colorado with an emphasis on social psychology of sport and physical activity, her MS at the University of Florida in sport pedagogy and her bachelor’s degree at the University of Western Ontario in kinesiology. Haley loves both water and snow skiing, and hiking. Her favorite meal is anything that requires only chopping or blending.