Ways to Cope & Deal with Stress During COVID-19
Life has changed drastically because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, with this change in lifestyle and daily living, levels of anxiety, depression, and stress have risen to an all-time high.
People around the world are uncertain about their future, their current financial stability, and their health, all because of this rapidly exploding disease. So, of course, stress is to be expected, especially with such overwhelming circumstances.
Still, while COVID-19 rages on, this does not mean that you have to suffer from high levels of stress 24/7. Stress can be managed and should be managed. This way your health and mental wellbeing can stay in check both short and long term.
No one is perfect, and stress is a natural part of life. In this post, we’ll try to lighten your stress levels during this unprecedented time.
Why is it Important to Manage Stress Levels During COVID-19?
The pandemic shows no signs of wavering. Even in quarantined countries, rates of infections have dipped and risen. Masks, social distancing, and other measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of infection and a vaccine has even been developed, but not everyone has access to the vaccine or medical care.
In short, life remains uncertain, and many people are unemployed and struggling financially. As a result of all of this, stress continues to affect us all. This might seem insignificant to some people., but, stress decreases the effectiveness of our immune system and makes us more prone to illness.
High levels of stress also cause a deterioration in mental health. So, we are seeing people struggling with stress and other mental health issues more. Again, stress is a natural part of life, as I mentioned. But, we have to get a handle on it so we can stay healthier during the pandemic.
Best Ways to Cope with Stress During COVID-19!
Tops Ways You Can Cope & Deal With Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic:
There are many ways to cope and handle stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it is work or home-related stress, we can all take steps to improve our mental and physical well-being with lowered stress.
1. Stay in Contact With Loved Ones Virtually
One of the best ways to handle high levels of stress is through social interaction. Of course, it is difficult to meet up with people in person, especially given the circumstance. Still, it’s crucial that we stay in contact with our loved ones, even during the pandemic, now more than ever we need human connection.
For one, talking to people about our worries and fears can reduce stress significantly. It can be hard to talk about our problems, but when we have people to lean on we feel less emotionally and mentally burdened. Isolation and loneliness, on the other hand, leads to more stress and depression.
You might not be able to see your loved ones directly, however, we can still maintain strong social ties and social support through digital means. Try setting up a schedule for facetime or zoom calls with family and friends, and text or call people regularly throughout the week. The less alone you feel, the less stressed you will get.
2. Manage Your Diet
Stress is impacted by all kinds of lifestyle choices, this includes your diet! It’s tempting to eat cheap processed foods. Sugars and fats can make us feel good in the moment, however, these types of food raise blood pressure, increase weight, and can worsen the impact of stress.
So, while unhealthy foods might seem like a good option, you want to stay away from these foods. Stress eating creates more stress in the long run. More importantly, eating healthy foods will help boost your health and lower stress. You will have more energy with good nutritious food, and your mood will improve with more natural meals and snacks.
3. Exercise Regularly
Diet is crucial to reducing stress levels, but you should be exercising, as well. Many of us can’t go to the gym or find it difficult to work out at the gym with a mask during the pandemic. However, this doesn't mean that you can’t get some sort of physical activity in. Start doing home workouts, or even try going for a walk outside if you can.
It may seem stressful to start out a new workout routine during this time, but exercise is actually a natural stress reducer, and release "happy" hormones called endorphins. Endorphins along with other brain chemicals are released when you are active, and leads to better mental health and less stress.
4. Go Into Nature If You Can
Staying in quarantine can mess with your head for sure! You might feel boxed in and restless being stuck at home all the time, especially if you are working remotely, this can be a major problem.
If there is a park near your house or a walking path to try and get some fresh air? Not everyone will have this option, but if you can, try and get yourself out and enjoy nature. Nature walks and bike rides are known to have relaxing effects on the body, plus it may allow you to do something you otherwise would not be able to do.
5. Learn Stress Management Techniques
Now is the perfect time to learn some effective stress management techniques. With extra time on your hands, you can learn how to reduce stress through your own efforts. There are many ways to reduce stress which includes deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, stress journaling, and even yoga.
There are plenty of resources for these types of techniques, utilize information, learn more about yourself and your capabilities. It can seem daunting or unfamiliar at first, but if you want to lower your stress levels, you need to be open to change. Get involved in Facebook groups, or watch YouTube videos about some these techniques to understand them better!
6. Don’t Watch The News 24/7
Another way you can effectively manage stress during COVID is by managing your news intake. We all want to stay informed and up to date with the latest COVID news, but you don’t have to (and shouldn't) spend all day watching information about the pandemic.
This will just cause more distress and worry. Make sure you stay up to date with the important information and leave the rest behind. Important information may include, vaccinations, local and state press conferences, and ways to further avoid exposure.
Try limiting your exposure to the news cycle. Just get the basics and try to find more time to relax and handle your life one day at a time.
7. Make Time For Yourself to Relax
Life is more difficult and stressful due to the pandemic, but this doesn’t mean that you should give up your free-time. Schedule in some relaxation for yourself throughout the week. Everyone deserves a day of rest, even when life gets hard. Allowing time to unwind a little will reduce your levels of stress.
Engage in activities you genuinely enjoy find productive things to do that are unrelated to work or maybe even your norm. Who knows maybe you will find something about yourself that you enjoy that your never thought about.
8. Seek Professional Help If You Are Being Severely Impacted
Finally, if you are being severely impacted by COVID-19 related stress and workplace stress, consider getting professional help. Oftentimes, people wait too long to get help. You might not want to admit that your stress is impacting your mental or physical health.
However, if you are having difficulties functioning in your day-to-day life, you need to take active steps to course correct your life. It can seem even more stressful to make an appointment with a psychologist or physician, but you'll want to put your health first.
A health professional can help you deal with your stress-related issues when you need the help! So, don’t be afraid to reach out!
If you are truly feeling the pressures of this pandemic, try some of these tips, and see where they take you. Please feel free to share your experiences on our blog, and others ways you have dealt with the pressures of COVID-19 so that others can potentially benefit from them.