April is Stress Awareness Month
Most of us don’t need a special month to be made ‘more aware’ of the crippling stress levels caused by this year of Covid concern. Perhaps it should be renamed ‘Destress Prioritisation Month’ - aiming to take our permanent state of fight or flight down a notch or two.
We have limited control over the external stressors in our lives, and some of us are born with a particular biochemistry which predisposes us further to anxiety. At the clinic, we treat many individuals with these imbalances, helping them become more resilient, without the need for medications.
There will, I am sure, be many articles this month on breathing techniques, the need for mindfulness meditation and the benefits of taking time out to simply go for a walk. All highly beneficial and, much like stroking the dog, clinically proven to reduce our stress levels and blood pressure.
I think we are already well aware of HOW to reduce our stress levels, the problem is whether or not we are WILLING to give ourselves the permission to do so.
If you are anything like me, you will perpetually ‘feel guilty’ about taking the time to relax. Ridiculous as it sounds, in today's frenzied world, taking time to ‘do nothing’ is seen as a weakness - after all, there are still so many emails in the inbox, the children won’t feed themselves and if I don’t get on with it today, the workload will only increase tomorrow.
If we actually stop to assess this thinking pattern, it is flawed.
If you look at the many studies linking stress and anxiety to lack of sleep, to increased blood pressure and too many more longer term mental and physical health problems, perhaps we would begin to value it more. If you simply plough on, what will be the trade off to your health, wellbeing and the general bonhomie in the home? So it might end up taking another day or two to get your work done, is that really so bad after all?
The trick, I believe, is to realise that ’doing nothing’, is in fact, ‘actively doing something’ incredibly valuable.