There’s no doubt about it, we are living in stressful times. This Covid-19 pandemic has majorly affected all our lives and is causing unique stresses for each of us.
Stress is your body’s natural response to harmful or threatening situations. A chemical reaction occurs enacting a “fight or flight” response in your body to protect yourself from whatever is coming- whether real or perceived.
Stress can effect everyone in different ways and can present with physical, emotional or mental symptoms.
Symptoms of stress may include:
- Muscle tension
- Cold symptoms
- Rapid heartbeat
- Racing thoughts
- Negative thoughts
- Becoming easily agitated
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Nail biting
- Overeating or not eating enough
While feeling stressed may make you feel like things are out of your control, you can still take control. Stress management is important, especially right now during this time of quarantine. Social distancing may make you feel isolated, but we are all in this together. To support you, we’ve compiled a list of ways to help you manage stress during quarantine.
Yoga is scientifically proven to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Multiple studies have shown that regular yoga practice decreases stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression. It’s focus on breathing and meditation are instrumental in developing stress management skills.
Physical activity produces your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. While some refer to this feeling as “runner’s high,” any workout can get you just as pumped. The focus of your workout can also distract you from the things you are worrying about. Studies show that daily exercise helps improve overall mood, sleep and give you a sense of control.
While so much can feel out of your control, it is important that you find things you can control like your food intake. Preparing and eating healthy, well-balanced meals is important in stress management. Meal preparation takes focus and planning that can take your mind off stress. Eating regularly keeps blood glucose levels stable, which is associated with better mental performance. The foods we eat play an active role in our mental, physical and emotional health: healthy fats promote increased brain function; fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals essential for combating stress; fiber-rich foods are associated with greater alertness.
While you have this opportunity of extra time, make sure you are making time to care for yourself. Doing things that make you happy, promote feelings of self-worth and help reduce feelings of stress. Practice or learn a new hobby, watch a favorite TV show or movie, take a long bath, or put on a facial mask. Even little things like this can make all the difference in how you feel about yourself.
Sleep is always essential, but it is especially important when battling increased stress. Quality sleep is important for optimal health. Studies have proven that high levels of stress truly effect sleep, but do not feel hopeless! Set a routine and stick to it. Avoid being on your phone or watching TV right before trying to sleep. Try meditation and relaxation techniques at bedtime. You can also consult your doctor for help, if insomnia continues.
Social Distancing during quarantine might be causing feelings of isolation. It is important to stay connected with friends and family as much as possible. Make phone dates with loved ones or start a group chat about positive news. Using apps like Marco Polo or Zoom can help you get face time with others safely and help promote feelings of self-worth.
Seek Professional Help
If you are struggling to manage your stress and you feel too overwhelmed, it is important to seek help. There are many opportunities available right now for remote counseling and therapy. Reach out to your primary care physician for a referral or suggestion.
Stress can have a major impact on your body and mind, but it does not have to control you. Take the time to care for yourself and practice stress management. You will be glad you did!