The Coronavirus pandemic had a big, unexpected impact on us and changed life as we knew it. This situation can easily cause high levels of stress as we try to adapt to the new reality.
In fact, both young and adults worldwide are having some difficulties managing their emotions because of the uncertainty surrounding the disease.
However, there are ways for you, or someone you may know, to better handle anxiety about the current pandemic.
Up next, we list five helpful stress management tips for you to take care of your mental health during this unpredicted event.
Don’t worry about things you can’t control
Even though the medical community is working day and night to provide accurate information about COVID-19, there is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the subject.
Additionally, the fact that you and everyone you care about are vulnerable to the disease only increases your worry.
Nevertheless, experts such as the UNC Health psychiatrist Diana Perkins, MD, MPH, recommend that it’s not worth it to spend energy on things we can’t control.
According to Dr. Perkins, we should focus on what we can control and make a plan based on what we do know about the pandemic. For example, planning to stay at home to avoid spreading the virus.
In that case, people can better manage stress by making their houses as comfortable as possible, so their time in lockdown becomes more pleasant.
Spend time away from the news
You can stay informed without having to watch the news on TV or social media 24/7. Doing so can only increase your panic levels, as most of the news about the pandemic cover negative events.
Instead of spending the majority of the time reading the latest articles about COVID-19, Dr. Perkins says it’s better to focus on more fulfilling activities such as taking care of you and your family and helping your community.
A good way to limit how much news you consume each day is to schedule a specific time for this particular activity.
Establish a short period of time in which you are allowed to watch TV news and reading about the recent events on social media.
Meanwhile, you can engage yourself in more enjoyable activities during the rest of the day such as:
- Watching funny movies or series
- Playing a board game with your family
- Reading a book
- Starting a professional project
Set a new routine
According to Dr. Perkins, not having a routine can provoke anxiety. Consequently, the sudden appearance of a new normal in our lives because of COVID-19 can cause you and your family stress.
In order to better deal with the stress of these new times, it is imperative to create a routine not just for you but also for your family to follow through every day. In fact, maintaining a schedule it’s especially beneficial for kids.
Setting a routine for the children can help at reducing their time outside and possibly spreading the virus. Nevertheless, adding structure to your daily life even if you don’t have kids helps reducing anxiety, according to Dr. Perkins.
Make sure to cover all aspects of your life when setting your new routine, which includes time to relax and do the things that bring you the most joy.
Schedule a time to comply with all your work duties and also for activities that help you relieve stress.
Find alternative ways to interact with others
Dr. Perkins states that social distancing is essential to avoid transmitting the virus.
Yet, having to stay at home can be somewhat challenging, especially for younger people who are used to visit friends and going to crowded places such as malls and concerts.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the population to physically distance themselves from the rest of the world.
However, staying connected with those we care about is key to overcome lockdown. For this purpose, you can try popular alternatives such as calls, video chatting, or talking from a safe distance (6 feet apart minimum).
Assure your well-being
All people, regardless of their mental state, need to practice activities that foster their well-being.
Some of the most popular self-care activities to practice while staying at home for a long period of time include:
- Eating healthy
- Sleeping 7 or more hours
- Getting sunlight
Additionally, skills and activities such as meditation, journaling, spending time with family and friends, or simply deep breathing can help you with stress management during these times.