This has truly been an unprecedented time in history. A global pandemic has brought society to a screeching halt and you are confined in your home. Sounds like a recipe for stress doesn’t it? Here are some useful tips to help you manage your stress and allay your anxieties about our current situation.
The first step to conquering stress is accepting that this is currently happening. Yes, we are living through the worst pandemic in many of our lives and yes the economy has come to a sudden stop. The fact is, you can’t do anything to change it. While you can acknowledge that current events are bad, accept what is happening and try to move towards more positive thinking. Always remember, whatever situation you find yourself in isn’t permanent. We will beat this virus, the economy will open back up and we will reunite with many of our loved ones.
Go Easy on Yourself
Our nation lives in a constant state of needing to be productive and hard working. Many individuals have found themselves out of work with nothing to do. Remember, this happened through no fault of your own. You are not responsible for the current shutdown and you are not responsible for being laid off or furloughed. It is perfectly acceptable to not be at your most productive during a global shutdown. Once this is over you can pick up where you left off.
Exercise is a fantastic way to start or end your day. Exercise can have dramatic effects on our moods because physical activity stimulates the release of brain chemicals called dopamine and serotonin. Regular exercise raises your average levels of serotonin which can boost your mood and overall sense of well-being. During exercise your body releases dopamine which is also known as the “happy hormone” because it is responsible for making us feel happy and content. You don’t have to dive head-first into working out with heavy weight-lifting or high-intensity training. A brisk, 20-minute walk is enough to start feeling the positive effects.
Start new Hobbies
How many times have you found yourself saying “if only I had the time?” The bright side of this quarantine is you now have a lot of time. Don’t spend all your free time worrying about work or the virus. Try to occupy your mind with hobbies you always wanted to try but never had the opportunity. Dust off that old piano you’ve been dying to learn or maybe that beginner cross-stitch pattern you started to work on. Now is the time to enjoy yourself.
Catch up With Friends
Isolation can take a heavy toll on an individual’s mental health. Humans are social creatures and most of us aren’t adapted to deal with long periods without social interaction. Just because we are in quarantine doesn’t mean we have to stop communicating with friends and family. We just need to be a little creative. There are many free options over the internet that allow us to connect with the ones we love. Skype, Zoom and FaceTime are all free video conferencing applications that can be used to host meetings or get-togethers with family and friends. Use all of this extra time to reach out to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while or a family member you have been missing. You can schedule some plans to meet in person at a later date. A schedule will give your mind something to look forward to and keep your attitude forward thinking.
It may sound cliché, but if you are having trouble with anxiety or stress, give meditation a try. There is an overwhelming body of evidence showing meditation reduces stress, anxiety and improves mental function. We recently had a blog post from our good friends Circle+Bloom in which they gave an in depth guide teaching you how to begin meditating.
It is easy to fall into a lethargic state where dishes start piling up, laundry begins covering your furniture and you can’t quite remember the last time you washed your hair. Try hard not to let that happen. Your environment significantly impacts the state of your mental health. Allowing your living conditions to deteriorate will only feed into your stress, anxiety or depression. The solution? Clean! Not only does cleaning keep your environment looking positive and smelling fresh, but it also gives you structure and a sense of accomplishment.
Stay Safe and Take Care
We hope this list of activities can help you through such a difficult time. Although we wanted to keep the tone light, we are in no way downplaying the current situation. Many people have lost jobs and loved ones and there is no changing that. What we can change is how we come together as a community to support each other through such a difficult time. Stay strong and never forget, you are not alone in this. We wish you good health, both mental and physical during this trying time.