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Don't Let Stress Take Its Toll

Learning stress management can help

Stress. We've all felt it. We all deal with it differently. But what do you do when it becomes overwhelming? Even better, how do you prevent it from becoming overwhelming?

Signs of stress can be physical and emotional. Muscle tension, sweaty palms, and difficulty sleeping are examples of physical stress. Emotional stress may include feeling worried, fearful, fatigued, and irritable. Sometimes, you may have multiple symptoms at one time. This can lead to having a hard time concentrating, poor health habits, and all kinds of sleep issues. The consequences of not managing stress can take their toll on you and those around you.

Fortunately, we can keep stress under control by learning stress management skills. There are many resources available to you through VA that will help you handle difficult issues and situations. Options range from simple relaxation or pleasant activities you can do on your own, to working with a counselor. VA also has resources to help you improve both problem-solving skills and anger management.

Money problems? Many VA facilities offer classes that help you to think differently about those problems and help you prioritize time for hobbies or activities that help you relax. Physical health problems? Relaxation training and practice may help you find the best way to take manage your conditions. Inactive? Healthy Living Teams are available in almost all facilities to help you identify light physical activity to keep your body moving and strong.

Many VA facilities also offer stress management classes and other resources for managing stress on your own.

It's important to remember that no matter how challenging life becomes, there is help available. To learn more about how to manage stress, talk with your health care team. You can also watch "Managing Stress: Good for Your Health" (above) and visit the Manage Stress Workbook from VA's National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention to help guide you through steps to identify and manage your stress.

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