National Stress Awareness Day
November 3, 2021
Did you know?
National Stress Awareness Day is recognized every first Wednesday in November and was founded by Carole Spiers, chairperson of International Stress Management Association (ISMA), which is an organization promoting knowledge and best practices about stress, stress management, well-being, and performance.
Chronic stress can lead to severe health problems such as hypertension and heart diseases. Stress management is a crucial part of life, and as a nonprofit organization committed to supporting mental health, we would like to share helpful information from our clinicians and resources.
Mental Health Vocab
Mental Health– According to the CDC, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”
Coping – There are various definitions for coping: www.ScienceDirect.org (scientific journal publishing company) defines it as “what people do to try to minimize stress and is commonly seen in problem-focused, that is, directed at reducing the threats and losses of the illness, or emotion-focused, namely directed at reducing the negative emotional consequences”. This definition can tie in with Coping strategies, which are methods used to cope with an event.
Coping Strategies – They are actions or series of actions that are utilized in meeting a stressful or unpleasant situation– this can include positive or negative strategies such as stress eating, shopping excessively, or, exercising, taking warm baths, and journaling.
Self-Care — Is best defined as the practice of taking action to improve one’s mental, physical, or spiritual health. Self-care can include having a spa night, journaling and meditating, talking to an old friend, or even just watching a favorite movie.
What does self-care look like?
According to Vero Polanco, Youth Outreach Coordinator at StarVista’s Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Center, self-care is “as unique as the person doing it! But most importantly, it’s not about self-indulgence and doesn’t need to be expensive. Ideally, self-care is something you WANT to do that’s free or low-cost, non-invasive, and not a hassle—it’s something you can do anywhere!”
The consequences of not engaging in self-care can include:
- Low energy
- Feeling hopeless
- Less patience
- Increased headaches, stomach aches, and other physical symptoms of stress
- Difficulty falling and staying asleep
- Challenges in choosing healthy food and urges to eat “comfort” foods
- Worsening mental health symptoms like depression or anxiety
- Feeling “burnout”
- Difficulty concentrating
- Strain or distancing in the relationship with your spouse or partner
- Less patience with your children
- Reduced performance at work
- Less motivation to engage in social activities
Micro Self – Care
10 minutes, 3 times a day
This assessment asks you to identify the types and frequency of self-care activities that you already engage in and may point out some areas that could use more attention.
Mental Wellness Tips
StarVista’s Counseling Center Clinical Supervisor, Karen Jaffe, LCSW, shares mental wellness tips you can use to support your mental health and well-being year-round.
Connecting with others in a meaningful way can improve thoughts and emotions. A sense of social connection is an important human need. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a large group of friends, a few meaningful connections are all you need.
During sleep, the body and brain repair themselves. Inadequate sleep can interfere with the connection between the Amygdala (which processes emotions) and the Prefrontal Cortex (which manages impulse control and decision making). Make a good night’s sleep a priority.
Being mindful is simply being present in the moment and cluing into what’s going on with you. The goal is to focus on how you are feeling at that very moment. Body Scan is a mindfulness technique you can do anywhere. Check-in slowly from your head to your toes and notice how your body feels. Gently release any area(s) that feels tight.
When you exercise your body and brain produce hormones and neurotransmitters that have a positive impact on your mood. Cardiovascular and aerobic exercises are recommended. Pick an activity that you enjoy doing. Even the simple exercise of fast-paced walking can benefit your mood. Exercise can also help with sleep.
Keep a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is a tool to keep track of the good things in life. Before you go to sleep list five things you are grateful for. It can be as simple as a sunny day or a good snack. Remembering what we are grateful for can provide us with much-needed perspective at the end of a rough day.
StarVista Crisis Center (teen services included)
Star Vista’s Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention– 24/7 hotline to call or chat if you or someone you know is feeling hopeless, suicidal, in need of mental health treatment, or if you just want someone to talk to.
You can also call (650) 579-0350 or (800) 273-8255.
Teen Crisis Services:
Teen Text Line (650) 747-6463 and Teen Chat www.sanmateocrisis.org are available Monday – Thursday, 4:30-9:30pm.
StarVista Counseling Center
Star Vista’s Counseling Center– Youth, Adults, Couples, and Families are welcome to reach out for support on ways to cope with challenges and the staff are there to help
Community Resources/Resources for Youth (SMC)
Monthly HAP-Y support groups every third Thursday of each month for HAP-Y youth ages 16-24
NAMI– Stands for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Offers support hotlines. The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m., ET.
1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Text Line: Text “Bay” to 741741
National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
Read our past blogs: