April 21, 2021
Not that we need the reminder in today’s day and age, but April is Stress Awareness Month. If you’re anything like me, you’ve increased your daily intake of lavender tea and deep cleansing breaths just to get through the past year.
Stress Awareness Month has been recognized every April since 1992, according to the Stress Awareness Month website, stressawarenessmonth.com.
“During this annual 30-day period, health care professionals and health promotion experts across the country will join forces to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic,” the website states.
The American Institute of Stress defines stress as “physical, mental or emotional strain or tension.”
The Williams Integracare Clinic reports we all experience stress in different ways, thus it affects us all differently. Personally, I get headaches, feel a deep pain in my shoulder area and have trouble focusing. Stress manifests in my physical body, proving it is more than just a mental issue.
“When you are placed in a stressful situation, specific stress hormones rush into your bloodstream, leading to an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and glucose levels,” the Williams Integracare Clinic reports. “This is helpful in emergency situations, but having this ‘rush’ for extended periods of time can be dangerous.”
The most important lesson to take from this month of awareness is to learn to overcome issues you cannot change and find the most effective methods of coping and managing your stress. Once again, this is different for everyone.
For some people, this includes exercising, meditation, watching movies, listening to music, taking nature walks, going to a gun range, talking to family members or a therapist, reading a book, etc.
For those interested in reading for stress relief, it’s worth noting the second Wednesday in April is National Bookmobile Day – celebrated on April 14 this year.
Laughter is often used as a common stress reliever. Lucky for us, April is also National Humor Month, with International Moment of Laughter Day April 14.
“National Humor Month was conceived as a means to heighten public awareness of the therapeutic value of humor,” according to the event website, humormonth.com. “Laughter and joy – the bench marks of humor – lead to improved well-being, boosted morale, increased communication skills and an enriched quality of life.”
You can celebrate National Humor Month by taking part in the 2021 Laughter Summit, planned for April 19-23. The virtual programming event includes 29 featured speakers, 16 comedians and 15 live, virtual sessions. The summit is presented by The ComedyCures Foundation.
“Health and wellness, lifestyle, humor and medical experts will share tips, techniques and effective strategies to enhance your life, relationships, performance and overall well-being,” according to the event website.
For more information on the event, go to comedycures.org/the-laughter-summit.
One of my personal favorite stress relievers blends in perfectly well with yet another April celebration. World Circus Day is celebrated the third Saturday in April – April 17 this year.
I’ve been studying aerial trapeze off and on for nearly eight years, and there is nothing I enjoy more than playing circus. The group I work with, Aerial Mind, is led by licensed psychologist Dr. Christine Gorigoitia, Psy. D. She focuses on the mind/body connection and has taught me lessons that apply to my everyday life – not only when I’m hanging upside down 25 feet in the air…