Stress Awareness Month during a pandemic


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The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more stressors and less ways for students to deal with them.

Aliyah Rodriguez, Features & Lifestyle Editor

April is Stress Awareness Month and the past year of dealing with a pandemic makes it extremely important to prioritize your mental health.  

It’s needless to say that the past year has been especially hard on students. College is meant to be the best four years of our lives but that does not come without the price of dealing with stress regularly. The changes of the pandemic have left students with more stress and less ways to safely deal with it 

Dealing with stress can also be difficult because there is no singular way of defining what stress is – what stresses one person might not be stressful to another. Dr. Brielle Stark-Adler, the director of the Counseling Center, discusses how important it is to be able to identify one’s emotions – especially when it comes to stress.  

It is hard to identify emotions, and often we use the term “stress” to refer to a variety of feelings ranging from sadness and worry to anger and grief,” Stark-Adler said via email. “Sometimes, what we think (and hope) is “just stress” is actually more serious and specific, like anxiety or depression.” 

During Stress Awareness Month, health care professionals work to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for stress. Sometimes stress can be a good thing because it can help motivate you, but chronic, long-term stress can lead to serious health issues such as heart problems, high blood pressure and depression.  

The best way to deal with an excessive amount of stress is to seek help from a professional so you can find the tools to get yourself through it. Everyone deals with stress but familiarizing yourself with your emotions and your limits can help you acknowledge when the stress in your life is becoming too much.  

For Iona’s students, the Counseling Center on campus is a resource that can be used to deal with the stresses of the school year, as well as the general stresses of life.  

When we talk to students about managing stress, we focus on building both internal and external supports. Internally, we focus on increasing awareness of the thoughts and feelings that emerge when stress is starting to rise,” Stark-Adler said. “We also work with students to help them build externally based strategies such as reengaging with favorite activities, strengthening social networks, improving sleep and nutrition, building plans for rest and self-care, and breaking big projects down into manageable goals. 

For help with stress and any other mental or emotional needs, students can confidentially meet with at the Counseling Center for free. The Counseling Center can be reached at 914-633-2038.