Tips to manage stress as wildfire anniversary approaches

April 28, 2017

FORT McMURRAY – Next week marks the first anniversary of the Fort McMurray wildfire and evacuation, and Alberta Health Services (AHS) recognizes the anniversary will be a stressful time that brings back painful memories and emotions for many people.

Long-term stress can increase your risk of depression, anxiety and other health problems. Learning how to manage stress can protect your mental and physical well-being.

AHS would like to share these tips to reduce and manage stress:

Stay connected: Having healthy relationships gives you shared respect, honesty, loyalty and trust. Eat meals with family, friends and co-workers to feel more connected.
Breathe: When you are stressed, take a slow, deep breath. It calms your nervous system and helps you think more clearly. 

Get enough sleep: Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Sufficient sleep helps you feel better, improves concentration and boosts energy.

Take time for yourself: Do something creative or something that you enjoy.

Laugh: When you laugh, you breathe in more oxygen and your body releases chemicals that make you feel good. It increases blood flow and relaxes the muscles.

Express yourself: Talk to a family member or friend about your stress. It can calm you and give you a different perspective.

Go outside: Just a few minutes outside can help you feel relaxed and recharged. A 15-minute walk in any weather can improve your mood.

Write: Keeping a journal is a good way to understand what causes stress and how you react.

Intimacy matters: A healthy committed relationship helps builds intimacy and lowers stress.

Stretch: Gentle stretching relaxes tight muscles and may help tension headaches. Regular stretching can improve your mood and general well-being.

Drink water: Drink six to 10 cups of water a day to stay hydrated and alert.

Eat well: Proper nutrition fuels the brain and body.

Be active: Exercising for 30 minutes five days a week can improve your physical and mental health.Set realistic goals: Don’t take on too much. Know your limits. It’s OK to say ‘no’ or ask for help when you feel overwhelmed.

Be positive: Appreciate and focus on your strengths.

Help is available if you are struggling and need support. 

Community Addiction and Mental Health Intake and Referral Services provides an entry point to AHS addiction and mental health treatment services, including counselling, crisis intervention and referrals for ongoing addiction and mental health treatment services. No appointment is required. Walk-in or call 780-743-7187 for more information. The clinic is located at 10217 Queen St. and is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9:15 p.m.

Telephone supports are also available. Call Health Link at 811 for health information and advice from registered nurses. The Mental Health Help Line (1-877-303-2642) provides crisis intervention, information about mental health programs and services, and referrals to other agencies if needed.

Share your reflections and thoughts on the wildfire and recovery with others at

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Erika Dart
AHS Communications