Addressing Stress Amplified by the Coronavirus Outbreak
These days, stress has become so normal that days, weeks, and even months have been set aside to recognize mental health awareness. Entire industries have grown up and continue to operate around the concept of helping people combat mental strain and find inner peace. There’s little doubt that people have never been under more daily stress. Add a pandemic into the mix, and things can very quickly approach the breaking point.
If you’ve found that you’re struggling with amplified levels of stress as you try to survive the uncharted waters of the ongoing crisis, you’re not alone. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to start fighting back against that nagging anxiety. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you in addressing stress during the coronavirus outbreak.
Stick to Old Routines When You Can
The COVID-19 pandemic has completely upended life. While most of your routines may have been disrupted by this change, it makes holding on to other older routines that much more important.
For instance, while your pattern of work may have been thrown off, there are still many normal patterns of behavior, such as eating and sleeping, that should remain intact. Striving to keep structure and predictability in your existing routine can help provide a sense of control and, by extension, calmness in your day-to-day activities.
Establish New Routines
Along with maintaining pre-existing activities, it’s important to consider establishing new routines. This can also go a long way in helping to provide a sense of control during uncertain times. It encourages you to avoid apathy and stay motivated.
Looking for a new exercise routine, a fun hobby, or an isolation-friendly recreational activity can help you avoid slipping into old habits and struggles like overeating, depression, drinking, or even drug addiction.
Find Good Sources of Information
Everyone has an opinion about the coronavirus. Some think the situation is apocalyptically dire. Others think the government is making a power grab. And you can find “facts” to back up any and every line of reasoning at the moment.
That’s why, if you’re trying to reduce your stress, it’s important to find dependable sources of information and avoid others like they’re the plague. Resources from the CDC along with most .gov and .edu sites are all good places to find quality information. Your Facebook feed, on the other hand, is not.
Study Up on Cognitive Distortions
One of the best ways to meet the stress head-on is by associating yourself with different cognitive distortions. These are common mental lines of reasoning, such as disqualifying the positive or catastrophizing, that can become harmful yet predictable ways that you process the world around you.
By familiarizing yourself with the various cognitive distortions, you can make it easier to identify when you’re looking at a situation from an unnecessarily negative perspective.
Feed Your Body Well
Stress eating is a thing, and it should be avoided at all costs. Make sure to feed your body well while in isolation.
This obviously starts with avoiding junk food, but it can go further than that. For instance, along with eating healthy meals, you can also fuel your body with stress-relieving things like herbal tea and CBD oil.
Reach Out to Others
Remember, it’s never wrong to ask for help — especially when you’re struggling with mental health. If you feel that the stress and anxiety is overwhelming you, call a friend or family member that you trust. Talk through your situation with them.
Verbalizing your fears can be an excellent way to gain control over runaway thoughts and to regain a measure of peace in your mind.
Look for Ways to Help
Finally, while reaching out for help is a good idea, it’s equally important to offer help to others. For many people, the ability to support their fellow humans can breathe life, purpose, and stress-busting peace into their minds and souls.
While it’s difficult to do much to volunteer in larger groups at the moment, there are plenty of ways to reach out and help those who are struggling around you.
For instance, if you have a friend in their 20s or 30s, they may be experiencing a quarter-life crisis. This is a period of uncertainty and questioning that can very easily be amplified by the thumb-twiddling isolation of a quarantine. If that’s the case, you can spend some time studying on how to talk to someone going through this kind of struggle, and then reach out via a phone call or video chat to help them process their situation.
Amplifying Peace in Times of Stress
There are many ways to combat stress, even in the worst of times. If you make an effort to restore structure and peace to your life, you’ll be able to weather the torrent of the COVID-19 pandemic with grace and peace. You may even become a beacon of life and hope for others who are struggling around you.
This guest post was authored by Brooke Faulkner
Brooke Faulkner is a writer, mom and adventurer in the Pacific Northwest. She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader. And then dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons, without getting groans and eye rolls in response.