I have started, erased, and restarted this blog three times now. When I was asked to write a blog about stress, I couldn’t help but think of all of the major events our community has been through this year, and every time I began to type the list, I found myself thinking, “This is just too much.” Yet in the face of it all, our community has thrived.
And while it is true that we are stronger because of what we have experienced, many individuals in our community, city, and state are experiencing elevated levels of stress. Results of a survey released by WalletHub in April 2017 found Louisiana to be the second most stressed state with a score only marginally lower than the most stressed state in the nation, Alabama. The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America 2017 Snapshot reported the first statistically significant increase in stress since the survey was first administered in 2007. Anecdotally, I have had multiple conversations with people discussing the more elevated than usual baseline stress level that some are experiencing and the tendency to be more sensitive and reactive to what they might have considered minor stressors in the past.
6 Tips for dealing with stress
As we approach this busy time of year, we often find ourselves feeling overwhelmed. Here are some suggestions for dealing with stress in a healthy way:
"Often we get so caught up in taking care of everyone around us, we forget to check in with ourselves. Check in with yourself regularly, and listen to what your mind and body are telling you you need."
These are just a few suggestions for coping with end-of-the year stress. I challenge you to try one or more of these over the next few weeks and see if they work in your life.
1 Sansone RA, et al. "Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation," Psychiatry (Nov. 2010): Vol. 7, No. 11, pp. 18–22
2 NPR (2017, April 25) “Just Show Up: Sheryl Sandberg on How to Help Someone Who’s Grieving.” Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=525453115
Jodi is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and is currently serving as the Upper School Counselor at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. She has a Master’s of Education with a concentration in Mental Health and a Certificate of Education Specialist with a concentration in School Counseling from Louisiana State University. Prior to working as a school counselor, she worked in various clinical settings, including a community-based family clinic, a university mental health clinic, and a substance abuse detox facility. Jodi’s areas of focus and experience include school counseling, adolescent and family counseling, individual and group counseling, identity development, girls’ and women’s wellness, military personnel and veterans, academic and career counseling, and substance abuse treatment.