As the weather gets warmer and summer approaches, many of us find ourselves with a change in mindset as well. It is during this time of year that we begin to work on our “beach bod” and clean out our closets full of jackets and winter clothing to make room for our summer wardrobe. Its also a great time to re-evaluate how we are doing internally. April is the perfect time of year to take a personal inventory of how things are going in your life. Coincidentally April is also stress awareness month, a time to relax, prepare for finals, prepare for vacation, or get back to our goals for the upcoming months in a productive, stress-less way. So how do we do this? Spring comes with many a motivational saying. “Out with the old, in with the new” or “April showers bring May flowers”. Figuratively an April shower may be the time we can take this month to refocus and May flowers is hopefully the end result, a more manageable way to achieve our goals while managing stress in a healthy way.
Tweak the Stress
First, it is important to recognize the different coping strategies we use to deal with stress. For many, when stress comes knocking at our door we have a certain go-to way to decompress at the end of a long day. This could be a glass of wine, a few, or our favorite comfort food. While these activities create the endorphin release we are looking for, there may be some value in finding some strategies to try that are both relaxing and good for our bodies. We all know that exercise is recommended for relieving stress and has many other health benefits but how many people really give themselves a chance to explore relaxing activities that are more enjoyable than bikini body boot camp? (admittedly cardio does not make everyone happy!) There is such a huge variety of “spring cleaning for the soul” techniques available in this day and age. For instance, some new techniques such as oxygen bars, salt saunas and even vitamin b IV treatments have proven to help adults manage stress if they have access to these “spa days”. Even simpler, pet therapy (cuddling with the puppies at a shelter for the day), setting aside a girls/guys night out, or curling up with that long awaited new book that just came out can help to reduce stress. These occasional tweaks in your schedule prove to be highly effective when the list of things to get done just seems never ending. If you are able to make a list of the tasks you have to complete in everyday life, surely you can make a list of the stress relief techniques that work for you! Many of us don’t have the luxury of taking a spring or even a summer break so it is imperative that we find ways of coping that work for us in a hectic schedule. It may seem impossible at times to slow down and take a minute which is why April is the perfect time to do some spring cleaning for our well-being
Change the Stress
Even if you can’t find much time or any time to find healthier coping strategies, another way to relieve stress is to focus on keeping the positive aspects in our life. We all know the feeling when we have a person in our lives that seems to be dragging us down. Its okay to admit that your relationships with others may have changed over time and re-evaluate whether that person still fits in with where your life is headed. If a relationship that causes you stress is something you feel is worth having in your life, maybe try to change the dynamic of the friendship by changing the activities you engage in and the time you spend hanging together. You can try communicating with those around you about changing some of your habits this month and see if others will get on board with you for that weekend paddle board trip or that food festival coming up nearby.
This could be a reason why stress awareness month and April coincide and this year is the perfect opportunity to not only clean out you garage and closet, but clean out your conscience and built up stress. Take the time to throw out the trash in your life, real or figurative. There is no time like the present to say goodbye to what doesn’t make you happy and hello to what does. There is no better time like right now to say, “I don’t need that extra stress and baggage in my life”, and choose to rid yourself of negativity in favor of searching for positive stress management techniques that benefit your mind, body and soul. Make this month a month to Reclaim Your Future!