April is National Stress Awareness Month

By Elizabeth Deeks, Special Events Specialist

Over the last month, stress levels have likely risen in many households due to the public health and economic repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak.  While stress is something everyone experiences, the way we manage its impact on our health is essential, especially during particularly difficult times. April is recognized as National Stress Awareness Month, making it a good time for people to evaluate the amount of stress in their daily routine and how they can reduce any potential adverse effects it can have on their mood, energy level and overall health.

Stress can be debilitating if it’s not properly managed, especially when the source of it comes from a chronic illness or loss of a loved one. 

Although we think of stress as something we experience from glancing at our ambitious to-do list or getting to that home improvement project we keep putting aside, stress comes in all shapes and sizes.

Two of the largest stressors a person can face include experiencing a chronic illness or losing a loved one. Niagara Hospice understands how stressful these two circumstances can be. In fact, it’s a big part of why we are here and ready to offer you the support you need to combat that stress from the very beginning.

Managing Stress from a Chronic Illness Diagnosis 

Our partner nonprofit organization, Liberty Home Care, manages the Pathways Palliative Care Program that was created to provide case management support and services to individuals living with serious and progressive illnesses. With this program, a nurse is always just a phone call away, offering peace of mind and comfort in the midst of a stressful circumstance. 

The Pathways program provides a team approach that features patient-centered care. Team members understand that knowing who the patients truly are and what their wishes are directly improves the care they receive to  ease pain, symptoms and emotional stress.

If you are a caregiver for someone who is chronically ill and you are feeling stressed, visit our caregiver page for a variety of resources that can help.

Facing Stress from the Loss of a Loved One 

The Niagara Hospice Bereavement Department serves family members after the loss of a loved one from hospice care for 13 months as they move through the grieving process and the stress that comes along with it.  Bereavement counselors offer grief support to families in a variety of ways based on what works best for them.

Grief is a normal response to loss. Every grief journey is unique and can be an isolating experience. Counselors are available for individual and group support as families navigate this often painful and stressful journey to find a new normal.

Alleviating Stress Through Volunteering 

Stress often results in us feeling anxious but keeping busy and staying active can help. If you are looking to get involved in something that just feels good, our Volunteer Services Department provides a great opportunity to invest your time into something meaningful. Although many of our volunteers choose to work with our families because they have a personal hospice story of their own, others simply want to help local families facing a difficult time. We have a large number of volunteer activities available and can find a job to fit anyone’s personal talents, skills and personal preferences.

For more information about the services Niagara Hospice can offer, call 439-4417.

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