Stress Management During a Pandemic
The pandemic may cause stress for many people as they deal with uncertainty and disruptions to their daily lives.
Stephanie Knight, MD, FAPA, chief of psychiatry at University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus, has a few tips to help cope with stress during this difficult time.
Take a Break
Take a break from conversation about coronavirus. It can be distressing to hear stories about the disease or read news coverage constantly. Try other activities to distract yourself such as these virtual travel resources. Set time limits and stick to them. Dr. Knight suggests making sure you have at least two conversations each day that aren't about coronavirus. This is especially important if you work in health care.
Focus on Your Health
Don't neglect your physical health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends trying to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs. Even if you are working from home, it is important to find time to get outside and stretch your legs. "Put your phone on speaker and walk around the room while you're on a call," says Dr. Knight.
Practicing social distancing doesn't mean that you need to isolate yourself. Reach out to others. Call up a friend or family member and use them as a sounding board as you process your thoughts and feelings. There are many ways that you can stay connected.
Certain mindfulness activities in which you engage in the present moment can help you reduce anxiety or any emotionally overwhelmed state of being.
Remember that taking care of your mental health is part of staying healthy, and staying healthy is one of the most important things you can do during the coronavirus pandemic.
10 More Tips For Managing Stress
As the coronavirus pandemic brings stress levels up, take a moment to be present in the moment and challenge your perspective.
These 10 tips from the University of Maryland Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry can help lower your stress.
Spend 10 minutes outside getting some fresh air.
Notice 9 things to ground your mind: two things you can see, two things you can hear, two things you can smell, two things you can feel and one thing you can taste.
Think of 8 things that made you laugh today.
Pick 7 songs you can jam out to while you push through your least favorite activity.
Take 6 deep breaths.
Reflect on 5 things you are grateful for at this moment.
Reach out to 4 supportive people… from a distance.
Set 3 achievable goals or intentions for the day.
Have 2 meaningful non-coronavirus-related conversations.
Plan for 1 change you hope to make by the time all this is over.
And stay safe, feel your feelings and don't forget to do things that bring you joy!