Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month.  You may be thinking, “I’m totally aware of stress!”  These are tough days.  Everyone from young children to older adults experience stress at some point.  Stress can result from issues with work, school, family, or finances.  Not only does it affect our mood, but our health as well.  Muscle or body aches, inadequate sleep, and unintended changes in how much we eat can be caused by stress.

However, once you identify signs of stress, you can learn coping skills and, in time, strengthen your resiliency to stress.  Julie Tijerina, Extension Program Specialist, states that teens and young children do not yet have the coping skills needed to help them ease their stressors, but children will often react to stress in the same manner as the adults around them.  She suggests these simple tips to reduce stress:

  • Breathing exercises: hold your breath for 4 seconds and release for 4 seconds.  Do this for four to 5 minutes.
  • Sitting meditation:  sit comfortably in a chair, back straight, feet flat on the floor, and hand in lap.  Breathe through the nose focusing on movement of breath in and out of your lungs.
  • Walking meditation:  Find a quiet place 10-20 feet in length.  Walk slowly.  Pay attention to the movements needed to keep balance. Walk a length, turn around and repeat.
  • Before a test or other stressful event:  Do neck and shoulder rolls, squeeze and relax hands and fingers, or do some simple stretches.

Other steps that can be taken to help cope with stress include:

  • Healthy eating
  • Exercising
  • Taking time to relax
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Getting restful sleep

I might add one more tip – turn off the news on television, computer apps, and phone.  That tends to be a source of stress for many.  We might not be able to change what is going on overseas, our country’s borders, or even in our own neighborhood, but we can pray and take a stand on what it right.

Be Well, Live Well Healthy Aging Series

There is still time to sign up for this 4-session series, to be held April 11, 14, 18, and 21.  Sessions will begin at 10:00 a.m. and last approximately one hour.  There is no charge to attend, but I do need to make preparations, so please contact the Extension Office at 903-885-3443 to sign up.  Great topics, great give-away items, and great fellowship, along with some tasty refreshments are all part of the program series.

Closing Thought

Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well – Tommy, age 6

Contributed by Johanna Hicks, B.S., M.Ed.

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