Covering ways to relax and manage stress during pandemic and quarantine
Indefinite isolation from loved ones to prevent the spread of the coronavirus along with the cluelessness about what’s going to happen next have caused mental health crises for many people. As cases of COVID-19 continue to surge, Americans have experienced or are going through cases of anxiety or depression.
The global pandemic has made people deal with:
- Worry that comes with loss of income
- Separation anxiety with loved ones
- Fear falling ill
- Fear being labeled from becoming sick
- Suffering through boredom and isolation
- Fear about not having food and other essentials
While it is entirely natural to experience anxiety during general uncertainty, it is essential to deal with it day by day to maintain your mental health. Here are 9 of the most effective methods to help you relax.
Identify what triggers your anxiety
Anxiety can cause feelings of worry or fear which may result in panic attacks; thus, it is important to determine the source of your anxiety as it is the best way to deal with it. Do you experience anxiety because of health issues, skipping meals, negative thinking, conflict, or stress?
To identify triggers, start journaling and write what causes your anxiety. If journaling doesn’t seem to work for you, consult with a therapist as they have other methods to identify the root cause of your anxiety. Further, relax and explore the different patterns in your past that are similar to what’s happening now. Analyze how these patterns affected you and how you overcame them. Through this method, you’ll have a better idea how to deal with the situation at hand.
Ask for help
Some people are too independent, and this makes them believe that they can do everything by themselves while others are afraid to ask for help because of fear of social stigma. They assume right away that others aren’t willing to help or are busy with their own lives, but as Dr. Wayne Baker said, “You never know what people know or who they know until you ask. Don’t prejudge the capabilities of the group. Just ask for what you really need.”
As such, don’t be the “do-it-yourselfer”. Ask another person about stockpiling food, converting your garage to an office, a trip you’ve been planning, or an influential person they know who can help with your business or work. When you’re afraid or have second thoughts, just remember what Dr. Baker said.
Communicate with your loved ones
Social distancing requires citizens to stay at home, but that doesn’t mean that you have to cut connections with your loved ones. Find ways to have a good chat with your neighbors, co-workers, colleagues, as well as with your loved ones whenever you have time. The most important thing is to reach out.
With the digital evolution, almost everything is possible. Use social media, text, phone calls, video calls or email to stay connected with your friends and family. Research has shown that positive social support offers you the power of resilience to stress.
Don’t deprive yourself of sleep
Ample sleep boosts your immune system, brain function, mood, and mental health. Following the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep as well as 10 to 20-minute naps reduce the risk of infection, promote complex thinking and decision-making, and increase your energy level which helps with overcoming depression.
To have a good night sleep, set your schedule which means setting your wake-up time, wind-down time, and bedtime. It is also essential to eat a healthy diet, avoid too much intake of alcohol and caffeine, get some sunlight, and meditate. And even if you can’t find a way to fall asleep, some good quiet time with no distractions, noises or bright lights will do.
Practice self management
Skipping self-care during this pandemic can have some unwanted effects that may interfere with your daily tasks such as emotions that are difficult to manage, feeling of hopelessness, and the inability to focus on daily activities.
To avoid such from happening, engage in healthy practices including yoga, exercise, therapy, and meditation. These activities will help remove what’s blocking your mind and body, activating your free-flowing energy, which aids in concentration.
Listen to music
Music has been proven to relieve anxiety, ease depression, restore lost speech, lower blood pressure, and enhance concentration. It has a powerful soothing effect on your mind that helps you win over the invisible yet powerful novel coronavirus.
Different music has a purpose. If you’re in a blue mood, listen to upbeat music while performing exercises. If you’re trying to get some sleep, opt for quiet, melodic pieces with a slow beat. To reduce stress, look for slow music, but if you want to break the pain cycle, listen to lullaby-like selections.
News coverage related to Covid-19 is overwhelming; thus, some avoid keeping up to date with current events, but doing so means feeding your brain with fantasies that can, later on, escalate your anxiety.
It is important then to find the few most valued sources of information that don’t increase your stress levels. You may try listening to podcasts and reading newsletters from reputable sources with solid reporting and nice storytelling without inflicting fear. The NPR One app, The Daily, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and USA Today are some reputable sources for your daily news.
Stop the shaming and blaming game
Toxic tongues can only worsen the situation during this pandemic. With the increase of survival anxiety in people, it has been a common thing for others to blame a particular group like the current administration or an old lady who uncontrollably coughs in front of others, or young people who stay out late.
The heightening situation has compelled people to gather for protests, but doing so will only make the situation worse instead of solving it. Instead of putting the shame or blame on anyone, it would be best to stay positive and to unite with others to help those who are in need. This step, if done correctly, can end the global pandemic.
Adopt a pet
Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) mentioned that having a pet has many benefits including decreased blood pressure, decreased feelings of loneliness, increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities, and increased opportunities for socialization. Pets are great listeners and innately sweet; they provide comedy relief and warm hugs.
For Seniors (Ages 60+): Pets can fulfill the lives of many senior citizens, long after the nest has become “empty”. Here an article from Sixty+Me that highlights the benefits pets bring to our elders. LINK: How Pets Can Benefit Older People
As such, people are adopting pets to deal with the loneliness of quarantine. In fact, pet adoptions in the United States are increasing and that shelters are running out of pets. If you’re looking for a companion who can make your day better, now is the best time to adopt a furry, warm non-human companion. After pet adoption, you might consider enrolling him in an affordable pet health plan that offers full coverage. This is to both keep you happy, not worrying about routine care or emergency veterinary treatment while enjoying each other’s company.