Avoid the stress of the season with healthy habits

The arrival of spring for many ushers in a rising level of activities, obligations — and stress.

April is National Stress Awareness Month to bring attention to the negative impact of stress. The National Institutes of Health want people to recognize that managing stress is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle — and that knowing how to manage stress can improve mental and physical well-being as well as minimize exacerbation of health-related issues.

Mental Health America provides a Stress Screener (www.mhanational.org/get-involved/stress-screener) to help people better understand ways for reducing stress. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these strategies for cultivating a calmer mental state:

• Take a break from the news, including social media. It’s good to be informed, but constant information about negative events can be upsetting.

• Staying physically healthy can improve one’s emotional well-being. Eat healthy and get enough sleep: seven or more hours per night is recommended for adults.

• Move more and sit less. Start small and build up to 20 to 30 minutes a day of exercise.

• Limit alcohol intake. When choosing to drink, men should stop at two servings and women should stop at one.

• Don’t smoke, vape or use other tobacco products.

• Continue with regular health appointments, tests, screenings and vaccinations.

• Make time to unwind, and take deep breaths, stretch or meditate.

• Connect with others, and talk with trusted people about concerns and feelings.

Hinsdale and the surrounding area have a variety of resources to assist in stress management, including a number of gyms for both mind and body fitness, or natural areas like Fullersburg Woods to find healing in the great outdoors.

The Community House, 415 W. Eighth St., invites people to register for the following upcoming programs as methods for coping with stress. Visit http://www.thecommunityhouse.org.

• The six-week Tai Chi beginners course will be held from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. Fridays, April 12 to May 24 (no class April 19).

Often described as “meditation in motion,” the mind-body practice of Tai Chi has shown value in treating or preventing many health problems through its slow, gentle movements and physical postures, meditative state of mind and controlled breathing. It’s a low-impact, slow-motion exercise that doesn’t put any pressure on the joints. Practitioners see improved balance and coordination, and those suffering chronic health conditions have found it therapeutic.

The course cost is $115 with a $15 discount for members.

• The Mindfulness Meditation 4-Week Workshop from 1 to 1:50 p.m. every Thursday from May 2 to 23 is designed to train participants’ minds the way one trains the body for the perfect antidote to daily stress. Chopra Center certified meditation instructor Stephanie Frantz will teach centuries-old meditation and breathing techniques to relieve stress and increase an overall sense of well-being. Each session will be elevated to build on the techniques learned.

The cost is $97, $85 for members.