This month features National Stress Out week -- meaning take the stress out of your life, at least for a week. Aimed at students heading into finals (and to bring awareness to anxiety disorders), the week is supposed to remind them to relax. They are reminded to a break from studies and hard work and check their mental faculties to make sure their stress levels aren't above average. But that sentiment is relevant to anyone, anywhere, especially this time of year.

April is that special time of year that brings together all sorts of positive and negative elements. It's tax month, for starters. Just the stress of actually getting them done is enough to put a damper on your return, if you even get one.

The political climate, nationally and locally, is worrisome, and the census paranoia isn't helping matters.

Then there's the actual climate. It is unpredictable at best -- this year we've swung from temperatures in the 80s to the 40s. In past years we've even gotten snow. After a particularly cold winter and a very strange March, we're all itching to get outside, and this sporadic weather pattern has many of us frustrated.

Spring break this month is supposed to be a time for families to relax, but spending extended periods of time with family can be enough to test the patience of a Tibetan monk.

April is the doorway into spring and summer weddings -- another tenuous family event -- and it's also the time for that dirtiest of all terms: "spring cleaning."

Let's not forget arguably the most stressful part of all -- for newspapers, town officials and the public: budget season. It's never an easy process, but these last two years have been particularly tough, trying to keep up appearances without the financial wherewithal. Hours and hours and hours are spent trying to get it right. Tensions run high and attitudes abound.

So we've established that yes, there are lots of reasons to feel overwhelmed this month. Instead, let's take a look at all the reasons why we should give April another chance.

Foremost, it is a season of new beginnings -- in nature and human nature.

It's the prettiest month in Fairfield County, with flowers and trees bursting into bloom. Yes, the weather is unpredictable. But a few months from now, we'll be back inside, huddling around our air conditioners, trying to keep cool. Take advantage of the moments of sun and mild temperatures -- it's a pleasant and refreshing time of year.

Many people, too, are blooming. Students prepare themselves for their next step -- be it first grade, freshman year of college or the first year out in the "real world." It's scary, yes, but exciting, too, and filled with possibility and hope.

The town, for its part, can take a breath after scrupulous months of paring the budget. Although final touches won't be until early May, for the most part, the hard work has been done. Plus this is the point of the year that is farthest from the climax of next year's budget process.

Let's take a cue from Mother Nature's April attitude and, like those early spring flowers, do our best to persevere -- in spite of the inconveniences we're faced with this particular month.

And back to Stress Out Day -- it's one thing to be stressed, and another to be sick. If you're feeling severely overwhelmed, check with a professional to make sure you aren't one of the 40 million adults who suffer from anxiety disorders.