LOWER YOUR STRESS, WALK FOR WELLNESS

By Shayna Bryan, Intern & UAB Community Health & Human Services Student

Photo by Uriel Mont on Pexels.com

Managing your stress and anxiety is important for long-term health and wellness. Healthy stress management improves resiliency, especially when times are tough, but it can be tricky to put into practice. There are a lot of pressures in everyday life that demand attention so taking care of your own mental health can feel difficult to prioritize. The very pressure to manage your stress can be stressful itself, but finding healthy ways to cope with stress is good for your mind and body. Reducing your stress also reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease and supports healthy immune system functioning.  

If thinking about stress management is at all overwhelming and you just want somewhere to start, there’s a simple solution: Go for a walk. 

Walking is easy and you already know how to do it. Other common methods of stress-relief like yoga and meditation take skill and practice, but anyone can go for a walk. It gives you time to yourself away from the usual distractions and is a low-impact aerobic exercise. If you’re new to tackling your stress and feeling overwhelmed at all, walking is effective and can quickly become part of your daily routine. It’s low-stress stress relief for beginners! 

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your wellness walk: 

  1. Walk outside. Being outside among nature is good for your, mental-wellbeing, particularly if you live in a city. 
  1. Walk for at least 20-30 minutes. If you’re not sure how to plan a walking route, just pick a direction and walk for 10-15 minutes, then turn around and walk back.  
  1. Take deep calming breaths while you walk. Breathe in for 5 seconds while expanding your whole chest, then exhale slowly. 
  1. It is safe to walk outside without a mask, provided you are more than 6 feet from the nearest person. Take a mask with you anyway, for safety. 
  1. Use this time to take a break from the news and social media. Focus only on enjoying the moment. 

Sources: 

CDC. Mental health and coping during covid-19. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html 

Hunter, M. R., Gillespie, B. W., & Chen, S. Y. (2019). Urban nature experiences reduce stress in the context of daily life based on salivary biomarkers. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00722 


CDC’s Commitment to Addressing Racism as an Obstacle to Health Equity

Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

Commentary drawn from Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Media Statement & Website released Thursday, April 8 2021

According to the CDC (2021),…”Racism—both interpersonal and structural —negatively affects the mental and physical health of millions of people, preventing them from attaining their highest level of health, and consequently, affecting the health of our nation. A growing body of research shows that centuries of racism in this country has had a profound and negative impact on communities of color. The impact is pervasive and deeply embedded in our society—affecting where one lives, learns, works, worships and plays and creating inequities in access to a range of social and economic benefits—such as housing, education, wealth, and employment. These conditions—often referred to as social determinants of health—are key drivers of health inequities within communities of color, placing those within these populations at greater risk for poor health outcomes.”

The CDC is committed to ensuring every person has the opportunity to live a healthy life. To that end, CDC—as the nation’s leading public health agency—has established this web portal, “Racism and Health” to serve as a hub for our activities, promote a public discourse on how racism negatively affects health and communicate potential solutions. Working with the broader public health community, the CDC will serve as a catalyst to further investigate the impact of racism on health and efforts to achieve health equity for all.

As the nation’s leading public health agency, other efforts from the CDC in addressing the impact of racism on public health include:

  • Continuing to study the impact of social determinants on health outcomes, expand the body of evidence on how racism affects health, and propose and implement solutions to address this.
  • Making new and expanded investments in racial and ethnic minority communities and other disproportionately affected communities around the country, establishing a durable infrastructure that will provide the foundation and resources to address disparities related to COVID-19 and other health conditions.
  • Expanding internal agency efforts to foster greater diversity and create an inclusive and affirming environment for all.

For more information about the CDC’s efforts in addressing Racism & Health, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/racism-disparities/index.html. Also, feel free to share your thoughts and concerns regarding racism here in the comments section, or engage with us at the Wilkinson Wellness Lab on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.