At present, we’re currently in the midst of a situation that the world at large has never witnessed in their lifetime and likely never will again. These are unprecedented circumstances. And because of that, the ability to cope is absent in many people. There’s no reference point for how to adjust to this new reality. Stress is becoming a real issue not only due to the risk of the virus, but also from the extended periods of isolation – and the resulting mental and emotional challenges. When you’re suffering from stress long-term, it compromises the immune the system, which in turn can leave you more susceptible to viral infections. It pays to have some strategies in place to help mitigate these effects. Remaining stress-free is your first line of defence against COVID-19.
Identify and Remove Yourself from Triggers
As far as the pandemic is concerned, your most significant stressor is undoubtedly going to be the daily news cycle. The media nearly always portray a worst-case scenario narrative, which, if you’re already feeling on edge will do little to alleviate your fears. We have something of a morbid fascination with “bad news stories.” You do, of course, need to keep informed of developments, but not at the cost of your mental health. Make a rule to only check-in for the daily update from the government and try to use your time in more productive ways.
Engage in Physical Activity
Exercise has long been known as an effective stress reliever. Engaging in even short bursts of physical activity for twenty to thirty minutes can release feel-good endorphins into the blood system, which dramatically improve your mood. When you engage in any sort of repetitive activity in even one that’s taxing on the body, it helps you enter a meditative state, which takes you away from your worries. It allows you to reset and refocus on your priorities and move forward with your day.
Use Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques are so widely accessible through the internet, now. You can find a plethora of material to keep you grounded if you’re experiencing states of heightened emotion. The real beauty of doing this for yourself is that even if these exercises are beyond your ability – it doesn’t matter. It’s your application that counts. By asserting that you’re going to take control by engaging in activities such as breathwork, mindfulness meditation, guided imagery, yoga and qi gong, you’ve committed to changing your mindset, which in itself relieves stress.
Stay Connected with People and Talk About Your Concerns
Although the nature of self-isolation means that we’re physically distanced from one another, we still have the technology to remain connected, socially. You don’t have to be alone during quarantine. In fact, sharing your feelings is incredibly cathartic. The act of talking can alleviate a lot of stress. And the same is true in reverse. Listening to other people’s worries can be just as therapeutic. The bond of shared humanity is a powerful tool that helps us gain perspective.
Don’t Rely on Avoid Techniques Such as Drugs and Alcohol
One of the worst things you can do for your mental and emotional wellbeing is using substances as a distraction. When you do this, you’ll not actually dealing with your stress. You’re pushing it to the side. It’s a form of escapism. And depending on what substances you rely on, it can worsen your state of wellbeing when the effects wear off. The same also applies to stimulants such as caffeine. If you’re an avid coffee drinker, it leads to heightened states of anxiety and increases your restlessness, which will make self-isolating seem even harder.
About the author:
Dr Becky Spelman is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.
***If you’re struggling with the stress during the COVID-19 outbreak and think you might benefit from speaking to someone, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with one of our specialists to help you find the best way to move forward. You can book yours here.
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