The COVID-19 pandemic has reached over 3.3 million cases across 185 countries. As it continues to spread, leaders around the world try to contain it by implementing various quarantine and social distancing measures. As establishments close and we live in isolation, we get suddenly disengaged from society.
As our lives changed abruptly, our mental health is at risk. Coping with the sudden changes in our life, uncertainty about the future, and fear of contracting the virus itself can induce increased levels of stress and anxiety. Although people can react differently to these situations, you are not alone in this predicament.
How Pandemic Can Induce Stress And Anxiety
The pandemic and the sudden changes to our daily lives can take a toll on our mental health, making us prone to increased levels of stress and anxiety. Like the virus, stress and anxiety can affect anyone. It can manifest into restlessness, lack of focus, headaches, sleeping problems, and substance abuse.
Although stress and anxiety already exist for many, even before the pandemic, it is more challenging to deal with it now as our usual coping mechanisms may be temporarily inaccessible. With the foreclosure of establishments and the prohibition of social gatherings, we may no longer be available to pursue our hobbies, do leisure activities, or go out with friends and family.
Tips To Relieve Stress And Anxiety During A Pandemic
As health institutions face overcapacity, it is essential to keep our state of mind in check. Effectively managing stress and anxiety is vital in maintaining overall health. We have listed down some tips to help you relieve the stress and anxiety you are experiencing during this pandemic.
- Control Your Exposure To The News
It is essential to keep updated with information as the pandemic situation evolves. However, consuming too much of it can also lead to information overload. Limit yourself to reading the news at certain times of the day. It is also essential to ensure that the news we consume come from credible sources to avoid clickbait, fake news, and fear mongers.
- Take Care Of Your Body
Although stress and anxiety is primarily a mental health issue, feeling great on the outside can help us feel better on the inside. Being clean, well-rested, and adequately fed can make us feel good physically. It can help improve our overall mood, enabling us to handle stress and anxiety better.
- Establish A New Routine
The pandemic caused sudden shifts to our lives. Our daily routines were disrupted, which can make us feel disorganized and anxious. As we adjust to this new way of life, it can be hard to perform our usual tasks and responsibilities. Online classes or working from home can induce stress. Establishing a routine can help better manage this stress and anxiety.
- Stay Active And Exercise
Exercise is a great stress reliever. Physical activity boosts the body’s natural endorphins, which can help improve mood. The increase in blood flow can help us feel better physically. Aside from keeping our minds occupied from negative thoughts, exercising can also serve as an outlet to physically release tension and energy.
- Explore New Hobbies And Relaxation Techniques
Life in isolation can leave us with more time to dwell on negative feelings. Exploring new hobbies can help keep our minds occupied and even improve our mood. You can also try relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation. As the world is full of chaos and noise, it is crucial to find your inner peace.
- Reach Out To Friends And Family
You are not alone in this situation. Your friends and family are also going through this pandemic. Thanks to technology, reaching out to them is possible even with social distancing measures. Knowing that they are doing well can also put your mind at ease. Communication can help you, as well as them, better cope with stress and anxiety.
The pandemic has brought so many uncertainties to our lives. It is understandable to feel stressed and anxious. However, it is essential to accept that these things are out of our control.
Focus on what you can control as we overcome this challenge together. Dr. Jeremy Hertza, PsyD, said, “Take the time to look at yourself to examine: what are the ways that I traditionally manage my emotions? What are the ways that I can’t do now? And what do I need to do?”
Like the virus, stress and anxiety can also be contagious. Keep your mental health in check. As you feel better, share with your friends and family, the techniques you have learned to manage stress and anxiety. Let us help each other overcome these challenging times.