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  • Writer's pictureJonda Beattie

April is Stress Awareness Month



Stress Awareness Month happens each April. This has been an ongoing campaign since 1992. The idea behind Stress Awareness Month is to create an awareness about both the causes and the cures for stress.


Stress happens to all of us. Stress is a normal psychological and physical response to the demands of life. And at times stress can actually be beneficial. Stress can motivate us to complete a task we don’t want to do because we don’t want to face the fall out if we don’t do it. This type of stress is what makes me work a bit longer in a day to finish something I have made a commitment to.  Stress can also keep us on our toes and alert when we feel we are in danger. This type of stress is why we get our keys in our hand before we walk to our car in a parking lot. Stress can lead to growth and positive changes.


But chronic stress can have damaging effects on your physical, mental, and emotional health. If we feel we have more stress than we can handle it is time to seek help. This is when you reach out to your doctor or counselor for ways to cope.


What causes stress is different for everyone. What stresses me might not stress a friend of mine and what stresses others may not affect me at all.


Some big life events can cause temporary stress. A new job, a move, divorce, health issues, death, family issues are some. Others stress over political issues or global strife.


During this month it is just important for us to check in with ourselves and see if we are suffering because of too much stress.


If we feel we are suffering, first try to pin down what is the cause. Once you think you know the cause, see if there is a way to avoid that situation. Recognize what you can change and what you cannot change.


For me I feel stressed when:

·        I am under a time crunch to get something done

·        People I love are hurting

·        When clutter builds up

·        When I neglect my physical needs – like exercise, drinking enough water, and sleep


When I feel tense, upset to my stomach, or physically off kilter, I take a breath and physically walk somewhere else. Then I come back to the situation and try to brainstorm how to make some changes.


I talk to my siblings or a friend.

I look over my calendar and make some changes.

I declutter my space.

I look for a day where I can take a mental health day.

I go out to my deck and look at the birds.

I set up a meditation app to remind me to drink water.

I reschedule my walk time (because obviously the time I had set aside for it is not working).

 

It’s important for me to recognize what I can control and change and to accept what I can’t. Keeping my home and calendar decluttered and regulated can go a long way in reducing my stress. If I can’t take away the hurt from a loved one, I can at least let them know I am there for them and that I love them.


At the end of the day find what went well and what you are grateful for. Get enough sleep and tomorrow is another day.

 

If you want help or just some accountability with decluttering your space or managing your time join Diane Quintana and me on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.

 

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing and virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook.


 


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Linda Samuels
Linda Samuels
Apr 30

What a great reminder to 'manage' stress. It's a health issue, as you mentioned.


I have a formal daily morning meditation practice, which helps tremendously with stress. I do this when I first wake up. It also helps me throughout the day by doing deep breathing or activating my senses. Another strategy that works is talking out loud to myself or taking a break to walk or be in nature. Being near water is a great stress reducer for me.

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jondab
jondab
May 03
Replying to

Water is a great soother to me as well. I have two fountains in my home - one in my living room and one in my office and I have a fountain outside by my deck as well. Going to the beach is my favorite time away. I have a mindfulness chime to remind me to breath and drink water 😁

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Julie Bestry
Julie Bestry
Apr 29

Excellent points. I think we've all gotten so used to stress in our daily lives that we have lost that awareness; how good, then, that there's a month to remind us to take note and take action, rather than just accept it. For myself, I find that most stress comes from uncertainty. Either I'm uncertain of what really constitutes a situation, or I'm uncertain of what to do. An example of the former situation is that earlier this month, due to some miscommunication, I thought a friend was seriously ill; she did have something going on in her life that was troubling, but it wasn't a physical illness, and she'd made the best possible decision. Still, not knowing what was…

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Janet Barclay
Janet Barclay
Apr 29

Very insightful! I often get stressed when I have a decision to make, especially if it's about whether or not to attend an event. Once a decision is made, I feel better, especially if I've decided not to go. Because deciding to go often creates stress too!

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