While managing stress can seem like an impossible goal, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) reminds fathers to keep their mental wellness top of mind and seek help before stress leads to a larger issue, such as depression.
Common signs of stress include:
-- Physical symptoms: Sleep disturbance, fatigue, muscle tension and weight fluctuation.
-- Emotional symptoms: Including nervousness, anxiety, lack of concentration and overreaction to small things.
-- Relational symptoms: Increase in number of arguments, conflicts with co-workers and road rage.
While some people proactively manage the amount of stress in their lives and self-care when it gets out of control, research shows that men are less likely than women to have used the services of a mental health professional, according to a survey of Californians commissioned by CAMFT.
"Dads may think it's not 'manly' to seek therapy, but achieving mental wellness is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and your family," said Michael Uram, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist from Orange County, Calif.
CAMFT offers five simple mental wellness tips to help manage your stress:
1. Pace yourself. Use lists to prioritize what needs to get done. If you start to feel overwhelmed or before you feel drained--take breaks to do
something fun and energizing, whether it's a simple stretch, brief walk, or chat on the phone with a friend.
2. Laugh. Watch a funny video or share a few laughs with friends. Experts say the relaxation response after a hearty laugh can last up to 45
3. Live Healthy. We've heard it time after time, you are what you eat. Reduce caffeine and sugar, and don't smoke! Limit your alcohol intake and consider adding vitamins and supplements to improve your overall health.
4. Relax and breathe deeply. Place visual cues, like a blue dot on places you look frequently (e.g., your watch, computer screen, refrigerator) to trigger a reminder to take three, slow deep breaths that fill your chest when you inhale and lift your lower abdomen when you exhale.
5. Ask for help. You don't have to be a superhero! It is OK to ask for help.
If you start to feel depressed, have hopeless or scattered thoughts, feel irritable much of the time and haven't smiled or laughed for days, it may be time to seek help from a psychotherapist. Learn more or find a licensed marriage and family therapist in your area at CounselingCalifornia.com.
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