It’s April, folks. Everybody, breathe

Coping with stress.

When T.S. Eliot wrote in “The Waste Land” that “April is the cruelest month,” he wasn’t kidding. In addition to the anniversaries of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and RMS Titanic sinking – which occurred overnight April 14 and 15, 1865 and 1912 respectively; see this week’s Throwback Thursday – it’s tax time. (That’s usually April 15. But with Passover and Good Friday coinciding on April 15 this year, tax day moves to Monday, April 18, adding to the stress. 

Did we mention April is Stress Awareness Month? No, well, it is and trauma/postpartum-depression survivor Ashley Bernardi – founder of Nardi Media and author of Authentic Power: Give Yourself Permission to Feel (The Collective Book Studio) – has some tips for you:  

  1. “Live in the now. One of the most important techniques I’ve learned is to access the power of living in the now. Focusing on the past can cause regret while focusing on the future can cause worry and anxiety. When you become an observer to your mind, access your breath and become present to the moment, it is a powerful reminder that this moment is the only one that matters. Take a deep breath and relish in the now.” 
  1. “Listen to your body. We hold stress and trauma in our bodies, and stress can negatively impact our immune system. Get curious about where trauma and stress are showing up in your body physically. Are your shoulders tense? Is your stomach upset? The body is a messenger to what could possibly be going on emotionally in your inner world.” 
  1. “Turn off the noise. In a world where we are constantly updated with wars, protests or a pandemic, take time to set boundaries and turn off the noise. This includes social media, the news and your text messages. Turn off notifications and set your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and see how you feel after.”  
  1. “Lean into the power of connection: If you are feeling helpless about events of the world, connect with others in your community and ignite change and action. Contact your local church, shelters and donation sites to mobilize the power of people doing good.”  
  1. “Breathe. One of the simplest yet most profound acts of healing is through breath. We often forget to breathe, especially in moments of stress and trauma. You don’t need to be a meditator to access the power of breathwork. Start by taking 10 deep breaths in silence and see what you notice and how you feel afterward.” 

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