Coping With Stress
As the situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's understandable that you may begin to feel anxious or stressed. Whether you're concerned about a loved one, changes in your work situation, how to manage homeschooling (now that it's been announced the schools are closed for the year), or just simply trying to adjust to a new way of life—stress and worry can begin to add up—and could impact you physically and mentally.
So, what are some things you can do to help manage the feelings of this uncharted territory? Start by taking care of yourself and your loved ones.
Take a Break from Information Overload
While it's important to keep yourself informed on the most up to date information, hearing about the pandemic too much can be upsetting. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories- including social media. When you are seeking out updates or facts related to COVID-19, use credible sources such as the CDC or your local hospital or healthcare provider website.
The CDC recommends taking time out of your day to stretch, take deep breaths, or meditate to help alleviate feelings of anxiety. Meditation itself can increase feelings of calmness and physical relaxation which can help you cope with some of the stress presenting itself during this pandemic.
Eat and Balanced Diet
Stress can affect eating habits. You may find yourself reaching for your favorite comfort foods during this time. To help combat this, be aware of your stress eating habits and what triggers you. Find alternative, healthy snacks to keep on hand. Bonus: if you're eating a well-balanced diet, your blood sugar will be better regulated helping to keep your emotions in check.
While many of us miss working out at our local gyms, there are still plenty of ways for us to get physical activity. Walking, running, hiking or playing with your kids or pets in the backyard are all great ways to get some aerobic exercise which can help release endorphins to help you feel better. There are also many options with streaming classes to keep you motivated.
With the number of changes happening, it's important to remember to take time to relax. Do activities you enjoy. This could be practicing yoga, watching your favorite TV show, or finishing a good book—whatever helps you unwind. Additionally, make sure you're getting enough sleep as this can help you stay focused and manage the stress you're experiencing.
Connect with Others
We need to remind ourselves that social distancing does not mean isolation. It's important, now more than ever to stay connected to those we care about. Thankfully, we live in world filled with technology that makes it easy to do so. Reach out to your family, friends, and co-workers regularly via phone calls, text, or video. Doing so can help avoid feelings of loneliness.
Mental Health Support
If the stress of everyday life is more than you can handle on your own, there are resources available for you to speak with someone. Your primary care provider can provide advice or resources for mental health support, or if you notice changes in your child's behavior due to stress, contact their pediatrician for coping support. For immediate support services, contact the Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990 or you can access CALL2TALK by dialing 2-1-1. Additional resources can be accessed through the Samaritans Helpline at 877-870-5990.