May is Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to shed light on the reality of living with mental illness, to fight the stigma of mental illness, and educate ourselves on healthy coping mechanisms.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a trying time for everyone, affecting everyone’s lives in a major way. The stress of the challenges we’ve faced over the past year can be overwhelming and cause strong emotional reactions, like anxiety and depression. It is important that we all learn to cope with stress in healthy ways.
Ways to Relieve Stress & Anxiety
There are many different things you can do to help relieve stress and calm your anxiety.
- Exercise: Activities that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress-relieving, like walking or jogging.
- Aromatherapy: Essential oils or candles with soothing scents like lavender, vetiver, bergamot, and sandalwood can help improve sleeps and decrease anxiety.
- Journaling: Keeping a journal of gratitude helps to relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life.
- Mindfulness: This practice of anchoring you to the present moment combats stress, anxiety, and negative thinking.
Massage Therapy for Stress Relief
Another great way to relieve stress and anxiety symptoms is massage therapy. Massage therapy can significantly reduce stress on the physical and psychological levels. Studies have shown that a massage decreases your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure, and reduces stress-related symptoms, like headaches, tension, insomnia, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain.
You can learn more about how massage therapy helps to soothe anxiety here.
You Are Not Alone
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression, you are not alone! Stress, anxiety, and depression are common today, compounded by the world going through a global pandemic that has isolated so many. Now more than ever, we need to find ways to stay connected with each other and to find healthy ways to relieve stress.
It is important to remember to seek help from your healthcare provider during times of extreme stress, anxiety, or depression, especially if it gets in the way of your daily life several days in a row. Additionally, the CDC offers a list of free and confidential resources to help connect you with the help you need.