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Resources for Stress Awareness Month

Resources for Stress Awareness Month

April 3, 2023

April is Stress Awareness Month, and to promote this cause, the NYCDCCBF is offering you a list of resources for stress management. Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but by recognizing stressors and understanding how they impact us, we can take better care of ourselves and lead happier, healthier lives.

What is Stress?

Stress is the body’s physical and/or mental response to an external cause. Stressors come in all shapes and sizes. They may be a one-time event (causing acute stress), or a recurring situation (causing chronic stress). Common causes of stress are job pressures, financial concerns, and family issues. Traumatic stress can occur as a result of family loss, violence, and/or natural disasters, among others.

How Stress Affects Us

While stressors are external and not always a result of our own actions, they can still have a big impact on our physical and psychological health. Stress triggers our “fight-or-flight” response, increasing our heart rate and raising our blood pressure. As stress occurs and lingers unmanaged, this response can lead to a number of detrimental health issues, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain and tension
  • Chest Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach
  • Sleep problems

Stress also affects our mood and behavior, as illustrated by the table below:

Anxiety Overeating or undereating
Restlessness Angry outbursts
Lack of motivation or focus Drug or alcohol misuse
Feeling overwhelmed Tobacco use
Irritability or anger Social withdrawal
Sadness or depression Exercising less often

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress

Fear, shock, anger, sadness, and numbness are all common reactions to stress. Recognizing these feelings are an important step to stress management.

Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress:

  • Take care of your body. This includes getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and exercising.
  • Talk to others. Share your problems and feelings with a friend, family member, counselor, doctor, or pastor.
  • Take time to unwind. Enjoy some of your favorite activities (watching a favorite movie, playing a favorite game, spending time in your favorite park, etc.)
  • Set boundaries on the time you spend reading the news and engaging on social media.
  • Avoid drugs, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and guided imagery. Try out different techniques and see what works best for you.

Remember: stress is a common part of life. It is not a personality flaw or a reflection of who you are. For many people, talk therapy or Cognitive Based Therapy (“CBT”) are helpful ways to process and manage stress. Seeking support is a strength, not a weakness.

Additional Resources

NYCDCC Welfare Fund’s MEND Program:

Stress and Anxiety Tip Sheet:

Effects on Your Body and Behavior:

Stress Management Basics from the Mayo Clinic:

How to Cope with Traumatic Stress: