Stress Busting!

by Kyle Kick
BStrong Together Executive Director

Since 1949, the United States has observed Mental Health Month throughout the month of May to bring attention to the importance of mental health and wellness. Created by Mental Health America, Mental Health Month aims to raise awareness and educate the public about mental health issues that affect nearly 1 in 4 Americans.

This year, Mental Health America has identified stress to be one of the critical focus areas of Mental Health Month.  

Stress is a normal part of life.  Everyone experiences stress. Under stress, the body activates its “fight or flight” response often leaving us feeling worried, overwhelmed, anxious, and irritable, and impacting concentration, appetite, and sleep cycles.  Sometimes stress can be positive – motivating you to prepare for a test or run from danger.  But high levels of stress or chronic stress can have negative effects on both physical and mental health.

Stress doesn’t just affect adults, it’s affecting our kids as well.

In a study by the American Psychological Association, American teens reported sleeping significantly less than the recommended 8.5 - 9.25 hours needed each night.  More than a third of respondents said that they lie awake and can't sleep due to stress.  In a Partnership for a Drug Free America survey, 73% of respondents said that school stress was the primary reason for their drug and alcohol use.  Our children and teens are more stressed than ever and it's impacting both their mental and physical health.

In honor of Mental Health Month, BStrong Together will be hosting our final Parent Coffee event of the 2017-18 school year – “Stress Busters” Parent Coffee & Workshop TOMORROW, Wednesday, May 2nd from 9:30 – 11:00 am at the Barrington Area Library.  We hope you will join us to learn more about stress as well as tools and techniques for all ages that can be used to manage stress in order to live a happier, healthier, and more productive life.

We will begin with a presentation on stress and mindfulness from Josette Day of the Barrington Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy followed by time to explore demonstrations and mini-workshops on a variety of stress management techniques including:

  • mindful breathing,
  • simple yoga,
  • the power of spending time, in the natural environment,
  • art as a tool for stress reduction,
  • how to do a mini body scan,
  • defusing techniques to navigate unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and sensations,
  • and mindfulness activities for all ages

Demonstrations and workshops will be led by Kathy Gudonis from Compass Counseling, Amanda Schwellenbach from Bending Birch Counseling, Susan Lenz from the Barrington Area Conservation Trust, Brian McCallum from Samaritan Counseling Center, registered nurse and social worker Diane Christell, and Mindfulness mini-course instructors Heather Boehm and Anita Knotekova-Patel.

The focus of our Parent Coffee & Workshop will be to share helpful resources and ideas to manage stress that you can easily implement with your entire family.

To learn more about stress and stress management techniques, click here.

For students looking for help with stress, click here.

Wishing you a May Mental Health Month filled with sunshine, walks in the park, time to breathe, time to laugh, and time with family and friends.  Don't forget - it's good for your brain.   

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