April has been designated as Stress Awareness Month since 1992 to increase recognition of stress causes and treatments.  Given the last few years of experiencing social isolation, political division, and social injustice, it is more important than ever to highlight and understand the impact stress can have on your overall physical and mental health.

Stress is a normal automatic reaction to an external cause or stressor and happens to everyone. Not all stress is bad, but sometimes that stress can feel overwhelming and can begin to take its toll. Stress can be completely draining, leaving you feeling burnt out and exhausted.  When that is experienced, it is extremely important to exercise self-care and reach out for help when necessary.  While many often feel the need to push through and continue working, it is important to provide yourself rest and find new self-care habits.  Some easy and productive self-care habits may include cleaning, going for walks, or meditating.  Eating a well-balanced diet, getting an adequate amount of sleep, and making time for hobbies can also be beneficial.

Along with self-care, asking for help when necessary is always a good idea.  Recognize if  you are struggling to cope, or the symptoms of your stress or anxiety won’t go away, it may be time to talk to a professional. If you are feeling overwhelmed, Pro Bono Counseling is your mental health connection. The mental health WARMLine, staffed with trained mental health professionals, is available daily to speak to someone about how you are feeling. The WARMLine can be reached at 410.598.0234. And if you are interested in counseling, PBCP will connect you with a volunteer mental health clinician at no cost to you. Contact PBCP at 410.825.1001 for more information.

Since its founding in 1991, the Pro Bono Counseling Project (PBCP), a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, has helped over 30,000 individuals and families throughout Maryland connect with volunteer counselors and obtain the mental health care they could not otherwise afford. Presently, PBCP has over 850 volunteer clinicians all over the state of Maryland who give over 8,500 hours of their time each year.

If you’d like to support PBCP, please click here to make an online, tax-deductible gift.