We don’t have to tell you that there are many reasons you could be experiencing COVID-19 stress right now:
– You’re afraid for your health and the health of those around you.
– Social distancing causes feelings of anxiety and isolation.
– You might be worried about the future of your job, income, school schedule or ability to even play sports.
– New rules, regulations, and changes cause you to constantly be on your toes to make sure you’re doing the right thing.
These are only a few reasons why you might find your stress levels higher than normal lately. You might also find that it takes less to overwhelm you and longer to return to a place of peace.
The first important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Chances are that the people around you are also feeling their own types and causes of stress. The whole world is in upheaval right now and remembering that we are all in this together can allow you to expand your perspective and feel a sense of brotherhood with your family, friends, and colleagues.
The second important thing to remember is that there are tools you can use to help with your stress. Being a calm and peaceful person does not come overnight. The same way you have to train your body to become stronger, you have to train your brain to improve your ability to deal with stress.
Healthy Tips to Deal with COVID Stress
Here are several ways you can help manage your stress levels during this unprecedented time.
While people might use food, alcohol, and other substances as coping mechanisms, we also need to remember that anything we put into our body is the fuel that it runs on. If the
majority of stuff that we put into our body is junk, our bodies and minds won’t have the tools they need to succeed. This week try the following:
– Eat more vegetables or fruits. Just try adding one more serving to your day. The next time you make a grocery delivery order, add your favorite fruit to the cart and take it to work as a snack. Try a strange new vegetable and figure out how to cook it together. Adding just a few more nutrients to your day is a good way to provide your mind with the foundation that it needs to succeed.
– Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of water is obviously good for the body, but being properly hydrated also improves brain function!
Some of us might be at home with extra time to start a new exercise program, but many of us have even less time than before. However, try to think of exercise as a pill that you have to find the time to take. This week, try the following:
– Take an extra walk a few times a week. Some ideas for places you can do this: a staircase in your place of work, around your house in the morning or evenings, or even just park further away from any stores that you have to go to. Whether it seems like a large thing to do or not even worth your time, an extra stroll or two a week will wake your body up and give your mind a much-needed kick of endorphins.
We all know that social distancing is good for us right now in the grand scheme of things but being without friends and family can really start to wear on us. We are social creatures by nature, if that just means the one or two people you love to be around. This week, try doing the following:
– Send snail mail. Write a letter to an aunt, cousin, niece, or friend. Everyone loves getting a letter in the mail. Make your own postcard using cardboard or construction paper. Don’t have anything to say? Google silly dad jokes or think of a “remember when” moment that the two of you share. This exercise will not only make you feel better but think of the joy it will bring the recipient.
– Utilize social media to its full, but positive potential! Make posts about the positive things you see each day. Send encouraging messages to others who may seem down.
These are just a few simple ways to add some joy and happiness to your week. As always, if you’re feeling like things are getting too hard or you’re struggling to manage, let your doctor know so you can find more serious ways to help. It’s okay to admit that you need help. This is a hard time for everybody, and you deserve to find happiness in whatever way works for you.
If you don’t have a doctor and would like help finding one, Pleasant Valley Hospital can help. Contact PVH Regional Health Center at 304-675-4500.
This piece submitted by PVH.
Lou Potter, FNP-BC, is a family medicine nurse practitioner at Pleasant Valley Hospital.