Blog
Apr 22
Blog: Stress Awareness Month

Our world looks quite different than it did last spring. While there is hope that the pandemic's days are finally numbered, many in our community are still understandably anxious. As schools, restaurants, gyms, and businesses begin to reopen, we've seen setbacks of new COVID-19 hospitalizations and the spread of variants of the virus. Many people are still out of work, struggling with bills and childcare, and mourning the loss of people close to them.

April is Stress Awareness Month, and after this past year, most people are at risk of feeling like a high level of stress is normal in everyday life. It is not normal, and without proper care, stress can lead to serious physical and mental health consequences. 

Saratoga Hospital's Executive Director of Behavioral Health Janice Prichett, LCSW-R, offers the following suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control for coping with stress:

  • Take care of your body. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals, continue to exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
  • Limit screen time. The more you are online or staring at screens, the more you may increase your anxiety. Give your eyes and your mind a break by opening a window and breathing fresh air. Go for a walk if you can.
  • Maintain normalcy. Keep your regular routine as much as possible. Continue getting up and showering as you always do, making changes only if needed. Maintaining your overall routine can provide a feeling of security, that everything is going to be all right.
  • Put some fun into your day. Connect with friends and family. Set a schedule for your kids and plan family activities and games. Play and listen to music. Dance like no one is watching.
  • Manage your stress by helping others. You are not alone. Helping others cope with their stress can help you feel better, too. For additional help, visit the Self Care Resources section of the COVID-19 page on our website.

If nothing you've tried is working, or if you've been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of your day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease with treatment.

If you are experiencing any of the above, or you cannot shake serious feelings of sadness and depression, call your healthcare provider right away. If you want to talk to someone and are a patient of Saratoga Hospital Medical Group, contact your primary care provider for a referral to our telephonic behavioral health services. These phone services include screening, assessment, and counseling for anxiety, depression, substance use, and other mental health services.

We also offer medication management and counseling at Saratoga Community Health Center, as well as substance abuse or behavioral health counseling through our Addiction Medicine services. If you'd like more information on managing grief, please call Jean Malone, LMHC, at 518-886-5210.

And if you, or someone you know, is considering suicide, please call one of these numbers right away:

  • Suicide Prevention Coalition of Saratoga County: 1-800-273-8255
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8225
  • Samaritans Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-518-689-4673
  • Saratoga County Crisis Line Hotline: 1-518-584-9030


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