Stress Awareness Month
Having lived through 13 months of a global pandemic, you are likely very familiar with stress! Stress has increased for almost everyone and this increase has taken a toll on our bodies and minds. Our systems have lived in a perpetual state of “fight or flight” from the pandemic as we mask up for ordinary tasks, isolate from loved ones and track devastating losses.
Consider using Stress Awareness Month to check in with yourself and see how you’re feeling. Take a moment to ask yourself: where and how do you notice stress?
Are you feeling aches, pains and extra tension in your body? Are you noticing racing thoughts or finding it hard to keep up with your mental to-do list and constant worries? Are you feeling a deep fatigue that makes everyday things feel heavier?
We have all spent more time sitting in front of screens. Moving our bodies can be as simple as giving your body a change and showing it a little appreciation. Try stretching, going on a walk or taking a long bath. Yoga With Adrienne has instructional videos that focus on revival, fresh start, uncertainty and more. Insight Timer is a free app with thousands of aids to help with meditation, yoga, sleep and anxiety.
If your stress is manifesting in racing thoughts, try externalizing some of those thoughts. Maybe in therapy or in a diary. Let those thoughts out! Try journaling prompts to help you get started.
Give yourself some new stimulus if you’re feeling a deep fatigue. Find a distraction, a new hobby or television show. Lunch with Mo is a different kind of distraction where you can draw simple doodles with beloved children’s book writer and illustrator Mo Willems.
Most importantly, don’t invalidate what is happening to you because this is a global pandemic. Yes, everyone is stressed. That doesn’t make your stress less important. Taking care of ourselves is imperative not just for our individual health, but for our collective mental health.
Tara Redepenning, LMHC, is a therapist and the clinical director at Looking Glass Counseling. She earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling and expressive arts therapy from Lesley University. She is experienced in working with adolescents and adults in school-based, crisis, and community settings. Tara brings a holistic approach to her work using psychodynamic theory, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based strategies, and stress reduction techniques. Tara has expertise in working with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, adolescents, and college-age transitions. She also has a clinical interest in working with women during pregnancy and the postpartum period, including fostering and adoptive families.
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