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PLEASE don't let stress harm your health

by Kaitlyn Dawson


Many people don't realize how much their mental health impacts their overall physical health. Too much stress can make us neglect or ignore our basic physical needs, which can lead to even more stress. To help manage stress and avoid getting stuck in this harmful cycle, I tell my clients to remember the PLEASE acronym.


PL Treat Physical Illness

Our mental and physical health are closely linked, with the health of one directly impacting the other. Pay attention to your body and see a doctor for any sickness or pain, schedule regular health check-ups, keep up with daily vitamins, and take all medications as prescribed.


E Balance Your Eating

Proper nutrition supports better emotional regulation and coping. Eat regularly throughout the day, incorporate fruits and vegetables, and limit high-fat and sugary foods.


A – Avoid Mood-Altering Substances

Certain substances can exacerbate mental health struggles and make coping with emotions like stress more difficult. Remember to use alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine in moderation and avoid illegal drugs.


S – Sleep Well

A healthy sleep cycle prepares our minds and bodies for the day ahead. To create a healthy sleep routine, go to bed and wake up at consistent times each day, skip electronics near bedtime, and avoid or limit napping during the day.


E – Exercise

Mental and physical health are greatly improved with regular exercise. Exercise in any form—whether participating in sports, daily walks, or playing outside with the kids—is proven to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and increase energy.


*Speak to your doctor before making any major changes to your diet, exercise, or medications.

About the Author

Kaitlyn Dawson has experience in individual, couples, and group counseling and holds three degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University—a master’s in Social Work, a bachelor’s in Psychology, and a bachelor’s in Gender and Women’s Studies.

Kaitlyn is committed to providing a safe space for clients to address problems, build on strengths, and practice tools and techniques that will assist them in taking on life’s challenges. Whether struggling with anxiety, depression, self-esteem, relationships, difficult experiences, or life transitions, Kaitlyn collaborates with clients to develop a treatment plan that promotes growth, healing and connection.

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