April is National Stress-Awareness Month

April is National Stress-Awareness Month

As health care providers we take care of our patients and our families but sometimes don’t make time to take care of ourselves.  We have this backwards!  When we place self-care as a priority through good nutrition, exercise or stretches and relaxation, we can better serve others. Life can be stressful but managing that stress is key to maintaining a happy balance between life and work. The Mayo Clinic has identified three areas stress can impact most, including your body, mood and behavior. 

If ignored, stress can affect your body and contribute to health symptoms such as headaches, high blood pressure, weight gain/loss, fatigue, tense muscles, digestion issues, disrupted sleep and more.

If not managed properly, stress can also affect your mood with symptoms like restlessness, irritability, sadness or depression, feeling overwhelmed or a lack of motivation or ability to focus on tasks. 

Common effects of stress on your behavior include but are not limited to angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, social withdrawal, over/under-eating or even decreased desire to exercise. 

If you have any of these symptoms, you can explore stress management strategies such as regular physical activity, deep breathing, meditation, massage, laughter or music. Aim to get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, water and steers clear of excessive caffeine and alcohol intake. 

While at work, taking even a short walk and stepping away from your workspace can help manage stress levels.  Be sure to include some simple, effective stretches right in your work area.  Schedule a free Life Balance assessment through Norton Healthcare’s Employee Assistance Program to support your emotional and mental well-being when stress might be too much.

Taking care of yourself through stress management means you are better able to take care of others and continue providing great human interactions.