WACO, TX — In April, healthcare professionals are bringing attention to stress and focusing on its triggers and cures, as part of National Stress Awareness Month.
Journey Counseling Licensed Clinical Social Worker Pam McKown said there are two types of stress.
"There is the good stress that moves you forward and there's the negative stress that keeps you defeated in an unhealthy way," McKown said.
McLennan Community College Engineering Assistant Professor Laura Wright said her levels of stress increased when her 18-month-old daughter was born.
"Moving from having a baby and staying home for a little while, then going straight to having a full time job. That was a lot of transition all at once," Wright said. "I would be more irritable and things that wouldn't have been a big deal started stressing me out more than they would have."
The 38-year-old starts her day at 5 a.m. and gets her daughter ready for the day.
"We have to get to daycare before 7 a.m. so I drop her off at daycare and rush over here [McLennan Community College]. My first class starts at 8 a.m. every day," said Wright said.
McKown said the first step to manage stress is to acknowledge it.
"Sometimes you need to say 'I'm feeling stressed' and that then puts it out there and says 'what am I going to do about it?' Rather than saying this is how life is. I just have to keep going," McKown said.
McKown recommends doing fun things or removing some tasks from your schedule.
To cope with stress, Wright said she started making time for herself and and joining an exercise group called Fit4Mom.
"Find your tribe. Find people who understand because they are out there," Wright said.
However, if that doesn't work for you, McKown said you may need extra help.
"When they can't figure out a way or they feel there is no way out of this stressful situation. That's when I would say getting some outside perspective and counseling would be helpful," McKown said.
McKown said those who have come to her office for counseling didn't come for that reason. She said they came in for relationship, work or addiction problems.
If you have stress following a crisis, the Centers for Disease Control recommends for you to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (1-888-628-9454 for Spanish-speaking callers).