CHCAGO— April is Stress Awareness Month. It reminds us to pay attention to our health.

Nobody is immune to stress and, even more so over the past couple of years with the pandemic, it’s important to arm ourselves with knowledge so we can recognize when stress rears its ugly head.

WGN News Now spoke with Mirror Vibes founder and leadership coach Becky Thomas and President/CEP Stella Kalfas at Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago about their experience with the topic and ways to prevent and manage stress.

Chicago-based Mirror Vibes is all about self-reflection reminding us to be mindful, authentic and reflect the inner you.

Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago, also known by its acronym MHAGC, is an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the community tackle mental illness.

Thomas and Kalfas discuss the following 5 ways that can help prevent and manage stress:

  1.  Practice the Big Three – Eating healthy, exercising, ad getting enough sleep
  2. Take time for reflection – Meditation, yoga and deep breathing are great ways to feel more relaxed
  3. Put your feelings on paper – Getting the thoughts out of your mind and onto paper will signal your brain that the thought is safe, and it no longer needs to hold onto it
  4. Talk about your problems – Confiding in a trusted friend or family member can go a long way in combating stress
  5. Do something you enjoy – Learning new skills and taking the time to do something you love creates an outlet to relieve stress

Kalfas says MHAGC will soon launch a website, ahead of May being National Mental Health Month, which will provide mental health therapy incognito and at no cost.