April is Stress Awareness Month, a time to learn about how stress affects our health.
Everyone experiences some level of stress, which refers to how the body and brain respond to demands and challenges.
For instance, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to stress about their health, as well as the health of family and friends, which can affect eating or sleeping patterns and the ability to concentrate.
Left unchecked, prolonged stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and other long-term health problems.
The National Institutes of Health offers the following tips for coping with stress:
• Exercise regularly. Walking can improve your mood and health.
• Try relaxing activities, such as meditation, music or reading.
• Stay connected with family and friends. Set aside leisure time.
• Set goals and priorities and be aware when you are taking on too much.
Employees who feel stressed should seek assistance from a health care professional or the USPS Employee Assistance Program, a free, voluntary and confidential service to help postal workers overcome challenges affecting their physical and mental health, family life and job performance.