With the onset of the busy summer tourist season, those employed locally may become more susceptible to stress than usual.
Local counsellors Chris and Jennifer Clarke have a message for you; calm down!
“It can be indirectly related (to illness),” Chris said, of stress.
“I think a lot of it is attitude. You can approach the same thing, and push yourself too much, or be relaxed and confident within yourself.”
For some people, it may be difficult to notice when one is stressed. In these situations, check your muscle tension.
“Muscle tension and stress tend to go hand in hand,” Chris said.
“When I relax my muscles while I’m working I release my stress.”
For Jennifer, the key to relieving stress is communication.
“I’m very open and honest, and say how I feel and let it go,” she said. “I try to communicate very clearly.’
“You have to look at the whole picture and say, this too shall pass.”
The Clarke family hasn’t always been as stress-free as they are now.
Until a few years ago, the couple lived in Victoria; a much more stressful environment.
“When you go down Highway 18, this weight of stress lifts off your shoulders,” Jennifer said. “We learned how to rest out here.”
“Coming out here is so relaxed. It’s like getting off the hamster wheel,” Chris said.
Cowichan Lake area residents have a stress-relieving environment to their benefit, the couple said. People coming all the way from Victoria just to relax here.
Things like these are key to living a stress-free, and therefore healthy, existence, Chris said.
“We live in a high-paced world,” he said.
“Everything is instantly gratifying. Very few people turn themselves off… In Lake Cowichan, you have tubers going down the river just to relax… It has to do with people taking care of themselves and relaxing.”
The Clarke couple is so devoted to spreading the message that stress is a negative thing that they’ve devoted their professional lives to the issue.
Chris has a Master’s Degree in counselling psychology, specializing in couple’s counselling, anger management, and teenager issues.
Jennifer has become specialized in several stress-relieving holistic healing methods, such a lymphatic drainage (a special massage that helps cleanse one’s body).
Both work at the Honeymoon Bay Lodge and Retreat; a community that’s relaxing in itself, Jennifer said. With limited cell phone access, people can shut themselves off from the world.
“They can be human beings rather than human doings,” she said.