If you find yourself burnt out at the end of the day, you’re not alone! Almost a quarter of Canadians report high levels of stress on a regular basis. Females generally report higher levels of stress, and those aged 20 to 54 report the highest levels. Sound familiar?
The first week in May is Mental Health Week. To honour this important event, we’ve decide to compile a list of ways we can help deal with a very common mental health issue: stress.
A little bit of stress is totally normal. This is especially common during new experiences (such as making a presentation to board members for the first time, or starting up your business) or major life transitions (such as a wedding, or moving). But too much stress for too long can cause many negative health effects—from increased risk of heart disease and stroke, to lowered immunity. No one wants that!
Here are some smart strategies for managing stress that we can utilize daily.
Make time for mindfulness. Just say “Ohm!” Time to channel your inner yogi. Taking time out of our busy days to quiet our minds and bodies can be extremely helpful. Find yoga or meditation classes at local yoga studios or community recreation centres. You can also try deep breathing exercises at home. If you pray, utilizing prayer can create a sense of balance and calm.
Have fun. Time to bring out the bubbles and Batman action figures! In April, we explored the importance of play. Making time for the little things can help us reduce stress.
Prioritize the basics. Don’t underestimate the power of simple things. Sleep, exercise, and nutrition are all building blocks of health—including mental health. For easy nutrition tips, check out our previous blog post “5 Nutrition Tips to Boost Your Energy.”
Unplug! Taking breaks from our email outside of work hours leads to better concentration and reduced stress. This is particularly tricky for us entrepreneurs who don’t always work a typical 9-5, so it’s even more important that we force ourselves to take breaks!
Don’t be afraid to reach out. At HIP, we’re always talking about the value of conversations. This could not be more important than when it comes to mental health. Harness the power of conversation by reaching out to friends and family to share your thoughts and concerns. This can also mean conversations with counsellors and therapists. One of the goals that The Canadian Mental Health Association has for Mental Health Week is to reduce the stigma that goes with mental illness. There’s absolutely nothing shameful about talking to a professional about anxiety, depression, or anything else.
Let something go. If the strategies above aren’t cutting it, you may have too much on your plate. Consider delegating a task, dropping a project, or reprioritizing.
Do you have favourite stress-relief tips? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
Leah Payne is a writer, editor, blogger, and the owner of Cedar Hill Creative. She regularly writes about health and wellness—one of her favourite topics. Leah’s favourite stress-relief techniques are yoga and cuddling her cat.
 Statistics Canada. (2014). Perceived Life Stress. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2015001/article/14188-eng.htm
 Canadian Mental Health Association. (2017). Mental Health Week. http://mentalhealthweek.ca/document-category/mental-health/
 Canadian Mental Health Association. (2017). Stress. http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/stress/#.WO_WGVPyuT8
 https://news.uci.edu/feature/email-vacations-decrease-stress-increase-concentration/ University of California - Irvine. "Vacations from email decrease stress, increase concentration, researchers say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 May 2012. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503142645.htm