|COVID-19 has taken its toll on pretty much everything, from the obvious things like the population’s health and the economy, to the not-so-obvious like people’s stress and anxiety levels. By using stress management techniques, you’ll be able to keep a positive mind during quarantine, even if you’re in a place with spikes and subsequent stiff restrictions.
Please note: This article does not contain healthcare or therapeutic advice. If you are concerned about your health or well-being, speak with a health professional or visit your nearest medical facility in an emergency. This is a collaborative article.
How to Manage Stress and Anxiety During a Pandemic
Here are some tips on stress management during the “new normal.”
Stick to Plan
Although your daily routine certainly changed when COVID-19 broke out, creating a new one quickly and sticking to it can make the new feel a lot more like the old, ultimately relieving anxiety and stress in the brain. Even things that some may deem silly can increase your focus and decrease your stress.
For example, waking up and getting ready for work, all the way down to putting on nice clothing, can give your mind the sense that “everything is the same” and it tends to make work easier, too. If work is one of your stressors, as it is for so many, this is icing on the cake.
Incorporating the other parts of this article into that routine will make it even better.
One positive thing that has come from the coronavirus is the uptick in availability for food delivery. In low-income areas, where COVID is disproportionately affecting communities, food deserts and other forms of health disparities have been issues that lead to poor health. Thanks to deliveries, healthy food is now more accessible in these locales.
No matter where you live, though, healthy food helps combat stress and anxiety, ultimately preventing the more serious issues they can lead to like eating disorders. To start, breakfast should be a part of your new routine, and yogurt is directly related to anxiety suppression, as well as chamomile tea.
For lunch and dinner, foods with tryptophan like turkey (think “Thanksgiving day naps”) and bananas also naturally help with relaxation. Eggs and dairy also provide good calming proteins, and when it comes to snacking, almonds and citrusy fruits should be on top of your list. And don’t forget desert… dark chocolate contains antioxidants that are great for the mental state.
Another one that has been stifled by coronavirus is exercise. Gyms are closed, basketball courts are taped off, and for some time, even hiking options were very limited. Luckily, parks and things of the like are opening back up, and social distance hiking has a twofold positive effect on the psyche. The act of exercising fuels the brain, and experiencing nature also piques the mentality and allows for a mental reset, greatly reducing anxiety and stress.
Spending time with loved ones may seem more difficult due to lock downs, but with technologies like Zoom and Google Hangout, it’s actually easier by most accounts. Adding “hangout” time to your new routine will help give the brain a break from whatever it is that may be causing heightened stress and anxiety (for most, a dangerous pandemic).
Seeing and conversing with people is also a good way to escape from the heavy dose of negativity that the news steadily delivers. With screen sharing capabilities, there are a lot of fun things you can do with friends via your computer, like playing board games or even watching a live stream concert “together.”
Pretty much any sort of negative mental aspect is temporarily flushed out when you’re laughing. In addition to the mind, it also relieves stress in the body by relaxing the muscles. There is a chance you’ve already made it through every episode of your favorite show, but if you have an internet connection, YouTube now has almost every single movie you can think of, for three or four dollars.
Keep at It
Getting your routine in line will take some work, and including these (among others) stress-relieving pieces adds to that workload, but once you can establish your new routine, keeping at it will keep the stress away, just like a post-weight-loss diet is made to keep the weight off!
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