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Got Stress? Try More Rest

The word "RELAX" in capital stone letters on a footpath with blurred greenery in the background.

By Dawn Kulesa 

Feeling overwhelmed? Are there too many demands made in a day and not enough hours in the day to accomplish what needs to be done?

     According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, growing numbers of adults in the United States are dealing with increased stress.  In August 2022, more than 32 percent of adults living in the United States reported having symptoms of anxiety or depression because of feeling more stress in their lives.

     To reduce stress, even ten-minute mini breaks can help improve well-being.  The CDC notes that even a short rest period of ten minutes a day is enough to improve mental health and decrease stress.  Find ways to get physically and mentally active: try adding a short walk or other enjoyable physical exercise during the day.  To take a mental health break, focus on three positive things happening in the present at the beginning of the day, or create a mental list of three things to be grateful for.

     Creating pockets of time in the day can be a treat by adding something positive to help lighten a gloomy or sad mood.  Light a favorite candle, listen to music that is calming, buy flowers for the home or give a friend the gift of fresh flowers.  Giving can often calm minds when the focus is on helping others.

     Keep a sense of humor.  For those intense days, have a collection of uplifting movies and funny books on hand.  These can be great tools that provide an opportunity to laugh.  Laughing out loud or thinking of a person who shares a sense of humor truly can be the best medicine when going through a stressful time.

     Work on connecting more with others.  Ask a friend to go on a short walk or give them a call to talk about the feelings or concerns that are increasing personal stress.  Talking with someone who is trusted about what is causing stress can be calming and provide immediate support.  Another idea is to schedule a cultural or spiritual event that helps to connect with other people while enjoying an uplifting activity.

     Learn to relax.  Experiment with a variety of relaxation techniques, such as taking deep breaths or visualizing a beautiful calming place to go to when needing a break.  Learn to meditate or create a space in the home with heavenly scents that are pleasurable.  Aromatherapy can be a great way to relax.  Lastly, make sure to get enough sleep.  Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on tips on how to get a good night’s sleep.

Dawn Kulesa is a Master of Social Work and board member of the Cambria Community Healthcare District