Our world and communities have turned upside down in the last few weeks. We are all practicing social distancing or complete isolation which can cause our stress levels to skyrocket.
Whether it’s dealing with at-risk family members or patients, a roller coaster economy, trying to juggle work, keeping kids occupied or homeschooling while schools are closed, or simply adjusting to a new, unfamiliar situation, stress can easily pile up and negatively impact you — both physically and mentally.
With that said, it is so important to practice positive ways of coping with stress and anxiety.
With most gyms closed and social distancing guidelines in place, it’s still possible to get a work out in. Walking, running, hiking, and playing with your kids or pets, can help release endorphins (natural substances that help you feel better and maintain a positive attitude). Many gyms and exercise websites have released home workouts that you can follow as well.
Maintain a healthy diet
Stress can adversely affect both, your eating habits and metabolism. The best way to combat stress or emotional eating is to be mindful of what triggers stress eating and to be ready to fight the urge. Keeping healthy snacks on hand will help nourish your body to better deal with your stress. More importantly, keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day can help keep your emotions stable.
Take a break
While it’s important to stay informed of the latest news and developments, the evolving nature of the news can get overwhelming. Find a balance of exposure to news that works for you. This is particularly important for our children. We need to limit their exposure to the media and provide age-appropriate information to them. Whenever reasonably possible, disconnect physically and mentally. Play with puzzles, a board game, do a treasure hunt, tackle a project, reorganize something, or start a new book.
Connect with others
Fear and isolation can lead to depression and anxiety. We need to make it a point to connect with others regularly. Reach out to family members, friends and colleagues regularly via phone, text, FaceTime or other virtual platforms. Make sure that you are checking on those that are alone and check in regularly with your parents, grandparents and your children.
Get sleep and rest
The ever-changing news environment can also create a lot of stress, stress that gets amplified when you don’t get enough sleep. It’s important to get enough rest and sleep to help you stay focused on work and managing stress. Avoid stimulants like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine before bed and switch to something like a long bath or caffeine-free herbal tea to help you fall asleep.
Following these steps to manage stress and add a sense of normalcy can go a long way to help you and help keep those around you, especially children, calm and focused. If you are not able to manage your anxiety or depression on your own, reach out to a behavioral medicine provider for an in-person or virtual visit. Take care of yourself and others around you.
To make an appointment with a GVHC provider, call or text 866.682.4842
Article adapted from the Cleveland Clinic