April marks Stress Awareness Month and it couldn't come soon enough! With the global spread of coronavirus and its effect on our health, employment, and daily living, we can’t help but feel on edge and need healthy stress management tips.
Stress is something that affects everyone. In 2019, 150,000 adults around the world were surveyed on their emotions. Globally, 35% of adults surveyed reported feeling stressed, and in the U.S., 55% of surveyed adults felt stressed.
There are two types of stress: good (eustress) and bad (distress). Let’s focus on distress and how to best manage it. We can experience stress from many situations: a traffic jam, uncomfortable work settings, conflict with others, meeting deadlines, living with a chronic illness. The result of these stressors is our fight-or-flight response being activated, and our body reacts to stressors physically, emotionally, mentally, and behaviorally. Some common examples of stress manifested include:
Distress, if left unmanaged, can lead to serious health problems. While you may be unable to control your environment and prevent every stressor, you can control how you respond to it. Healthy stress management is all about using techniques that help curb your reactions to stressful situations. No technique is better than the other; it’s up to you to find which techniques work best for you.
One option is physical activity. Taking a brisk walk outside to clear your head can work wonders. Perhaps sweating it out in a kickboxing or hot yoga class is your thing. Engaging in exercise can help reduce the physical and mental symptoms of stress.
Meditation and prayer are great options to address mental stress. Mindfulness is the state of being conscious of the present moment. There is power in being still and focusing on the present, a specific mantra, or an action such as breathing. This allows your mind to quiet and aids reducing the effects of stress.
Some behavioral techniques include expressing gratitude, seeking social support, and practicing good sleeping habits (limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption and screen use to a few hours before bed).
Another method of managing stress is aromatherapy. Studies show inhaling or topically applying essential oils can provide health benefits such as improved sleep, reduced stress, anxiety, and depression, increased relaxation levels, pain relief, and antibacterial qualities.
Some common essential oils known to ease stress and increase relaxation levels include lavender, ylang ylang, jasmine, lemongrass, bergamot, geranium, chamomile, vetiver, and sage. These oils can be inhaled through a diffuser and applied topically as a massage oil or cream (diluted with carrier oils).
Aromatherapy can be enjoyed through topical application. Our Serenity and Lavender Vanilla body butters and line of facial products contain various essential oils known to help alleviate stress and anxiety. Men can enjoy a sense of calm and confidence when using our Beard Balm. It includes vetiver, ylang ylang, and orange essential oils, all known to boost confidence and promote alertness.
Stress is unfortunately, a part of the common human experience, but it does not have to control your life. During this month, we encourage you to take time to identity your stressors, your symptoms, and develop your stress management plan. If you are severely struggling from stress or having thoughts of self harm or harming others, we strongly encourage you to seek help from a mental health professional.