April is Stress Awareness Month

Local counselor suggests coping strategies

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Stress is an everyday part of almost everyone’s life.

From students dealing with homework deadlines to adults worried about paying the bills, stress can pile up quickly.

Keyser Stacy

Stacy Keyser

Stacy Keyser, the owner of Rapid City Counseling, says stress affects our whole being.

“When we’re stressed, we are out of touch mentally, physically and spiritually,” she says. “Over time we can suffer high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, heart attacks and obesity.”

Keyser says managing stress starts with a  person knowing their body and mind. And that starts with identifying where the true disturbance lies.

“If I’m starting to feel agitated with people, that would be an indicator that maybe I need to check out how high my stress is.

“If I’m feeling like I’m not staying in touch with my family members, I’m feeling distant from my family members, that stress might be getting the best of me and I’m disconnected.”

She says meditation is simple way for people to look in the mirror and ask what’s truly going on.

“Am I calm or am I agitated? Am I anxious or am I sad or am I in a good place? Breath just gives us a moment to slow everything down. It gives us a chance to reflect.”

But determining the cause of stress is just the first step.

Balancing work life and personal life is perhaps the most important step. But sleep habits and diet are also vital.

And part of diet is not rushing through meals.

“Make it an event and not a hurry up get it done and get on to the next thing,” she says. “Our body actually does not digest food well if we are in a stressed state of being.”

Finally, Keyser says one thing we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic is not to let screen-time take the place of face-to-face time.

“We are relational creatures and isolation and screen time is not a good way to treat ourselves well,

as a human.