Taking Time for Health on National Stress Awareness Day

As a child, you can contort your body every which way, run around for hours without getting fatigued, tapping into seemingly endless reserves of energy.

As a teenager, you think you’re invincible. You hardly think about health, beyond the occasional sports injury, as you down your 12th Twinkie and Red Bull to get you through an all-night study session.

As a college student, you’re either here for the party or constantly cramming schoolwork in between your busy school, work, and extracurricular schedules. Regardless of which person you are, health is the last thing on your mind. You’re just trying to get through and move on with your life.

But then you graduate and enter the workforce. Already, you notice your body doesn’t work like it used to. Something always hurts, whether it’s your back or your head... You thought you had at least a couple more decades before it came to this. And who has time to work out or money to eat healthy?

As we become acutely aware of our own fragility, we start to realize how important it is to invest in health, and not just physical health. Mental and emotional health are undeniably linked to overall well-being. And one of the biggest contributors to poor health is stress.

Almost every condition can be linked to stress, either in causing it or worsening it.

I get it... Stress is a sort of necessary evil in our culture. It’s a natural response that can motivate us in positive ways, but to an excess, it can be harmful to your health, relationships, happiness, and productivity. There are so many reasons to be stressed, especially if you’re looking for them. We’ve become so accustomed to ambition and obsessed with climbing the ladder that we've forgotten what used to ground people - faith, family, community, priorities, and contentment.

This National Stress Awareness Day is an important reminder of what really matters. Sure, having a busy life may feel productive, but what is that really worth if you’re not enjoying your life in good health and happiness?

Today, be inspired to consider what is really important to you, what makes you happy, what grounds you, and what makes you feel fulfilled. Find ways to lower your stress - whether it be through minimizing your responsibilities and stressors, practicing healthier habits, or finding effective ways to cope.

As my dad always says, you either choose to take time for health and exercise early in life or are forced to take time for sickness and disease later in life.

Either way, you will take the time.