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Coping mechanisms

April is Stress Awareness Month

Man, looking forlorn, sits and stares at computer screen
Prolonged stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other ailments.

April is Stress Awareness Month, a time to learn about how stress affects health.

Everyone experiences some level of stress, which refers to how the body and brain respond to demands and challenges.

Stress can be positive or negative. Left unchecked, prolonged stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and other long-term health problems.

Workplace stress can lead to burnout, which is occupational stress that has not been successfully managed.

According to the World Health Organization, burnout is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or having negative feelings related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.

The National Institutes of Health offers the following tips for coping with stress:

• Exercise regularly. Walking can improve your mood and health.

• Try relaxing activities, such as meditation, music or reading.

• Stay connected with family and friends. Set aside leisure time.

• Set goals and priorities and be aware when you are taking on too much.

Employees who feel stressed should seek assistance from the USPS Employee Assistance Program — a free, voluntary and confidential service — or a health care professional.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and USPS Wellness LiteBlue page have additional information.

This information should not be construed as medical advice. Individuals should always consult a health care professional.