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Ways To Cope during the Pandemic

Coping with Stress

Feeling anxious about the world right now? Between the pandemic and the global markets collapse, it would be unusual NOT to be stressed out right now. The effects on your work and home life are likely to be dramatic. Schools and colleges are closing, sending children and young adults back into the family home – all day, every day – with their own worries. This can mean having to arrange for child care and/or teleworking with interruptions - if your job allows you to work from home. For those still going to an office, the day may be punctuated by handwashing and social distancing. Some employees may be temporarily or permanently laid off. To top it off, the very things we can do to help slow the spread of the virus – social distancing, sheltering in place, and not visiting elderly relatives – contribute to feelings of anxiety and isolation.

Now is a good time to review advice about de-stressing, most of it from before the coronavirus outbreak. Stress is not good for you. It can raise your blood pressure, lower your resistance to infection, and cause other physical and mental problems. There is a lot of information on relaxation techniques (healthcare, fitness, and wellness websites and publications). The added stresses of being in relative isolation have prompted a renewed interest in the topic. While some of the pre-virus suggestions are not practical now (e.g., getting a massage, going on vacation, going to the movies), the more general relaxation techniques are still useful.

Everyday Ways to de-stress

The following is a short list of activities and practices that can help reduce stress any time and almost anywhere.

Specific steps to take in reducing anxiety around the coronavirus

You can’t control what’s happening in the world regarding the coronavirus or the stock market, but there are some things you can control in your own household.

Of course, if you have severe or long-lasting symptoms, call or see your health care provider or seek help from a qualified mental health professional.

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.

The US DHHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)

Bibliography

  1. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm
  2. https://thrive.kaiserpermanente.org/thrive-together/live-well/need-quick-ways-relax-de-stress-throughout-day
  3. McMahan EA, Estes D. The effect of contact with natural environments on positive and negative affect: A meta-analysis. The Journal of Positive Psychology. 2015;10(6):507-519.
  4. https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/news/public-health-update.htm#CP_JUMP_6397690
  5. https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-power-of-music-to-reduce-stress/
  6. https://www.bluecrossnc.com/sites/default/files/document/attachment/services/public/pdfs/formulary/stress.pdf
  7. https://thrive.kaiserpermanente.org/thrive-together/live-well/need-quick-ways-relax-de-stress-throughout-day
  8. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/stress-relief-that-works_n_3842511
  9. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiegold/2020/02/28/mayo-clinic-doctor-suggests-four-wellness-design-focused-home-improvement-ideas-for-arthritis-sufferers/#7e7b87d92e0d
  10. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html
  11. https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/07/16/the-best-and-worst-foods-to-eat-when-youre-stressed_a_23029130/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26317148