We are all living in extraordinary times. If you think about it, there was never a situation with a magnitude like this during the last 50 years. That said, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and out of your element at times. And more importantly, you need to understand that you’re not the only one feeling that way.
As humans, we are bound to feel things. That’s just the way we are. But when things start to get overwhelming at times, which it will, especially nowadays, you must know what to do to manage your emotions effectively for your general health and well-being. In this guide, we will share some helpful and practical things you can do (observing health protocols, of course) to effectively manage your stress and anxiety during this pandemic.
20 Practical Ways to Cope with Stress During a Pandemic
We deal with stress every day, so there’s really nothing new to it. But with the limitations on movement and activities enforced everywhere, the feeling can be amplified in our isolation and lack of interaction with others. That said, here are some practical things you can do to manage your stress properly.
1. Get some sunshine.
Did you know that getting the right amount of exposure to the sun can do wonders for your health and wellbeing? Aside from getting Vitamin E, which helps keep our skin and boosts our immunity, exposure to sunlight also stimulates the release of serotonin, an enzyme in the body that helps keep a person calm, focused, and in a positive mood. By spending some time in a space where there’s plenty of bright, direct sunlight, you can get such fascinating benefits. Try it today!
2. Breathe in and out.
This one’s a no-brainer, really. But it’s still an effective technique to calm your nerves and put off the stress away. Proper breathing helps improve your blood circulation, creating a relaxed feeling in the body. For best results practice taking a deep breath for four seconds, then slowly releasing the air through your mouth with your lips pursed for another four minutes. Do this for at least 10 minutes every day. You’ll notice that you feel much calmer and relaxed right after.
3. Sweat it out daily.
One of the biggest adjustments we all had to make during these times is minimizing the time we spend outside to do activities such as going to the gym, going out for a jog, swimming, and other forms of exercise. Despite this, there’s still plenty of ways for us to get active and fit even in the comfort of our home. Through the help of the Internet and apps like YouTube, you can perform simple stretches, jogging and biking in place, doing pushups, or even lifting weights! You’ll be surprised with all the creative ideas you can try to stay fit and active even while at home.
4. Don’t forget to shower daily.
Don’t ever think that just because you’re at home, there’s no need to perform self-care. Sure, getting a haircut can wait but taking daily showers or baths? Not really. Also, did you know that the best way to relax your senses and get a boost of healthy energy is by taking a cold shower in the morning? Starting your day with a boost of energy from a cold shower can improve your mood and help you go about your day in a positive mood.
5. Eat healthily.
So, many of us have been spared from going out to eat in the mall or go on food trips due to the pandemic. But take it as a sign to be more careful when it comes to maintaining your diet. If possible, try to eat more fruits, veggies, and other nutrient-rich foods. After all, adopting a healthy diet is one of the basic ways to lead a healthy lifestyle.
6. Learn how to cook.
Of course, when dieting is the topic, there’s no better way to go than preparing your own meals. This enables you to control the ingredients that you put in your food, making you more “health-conscious” if only in your food preparation – but that’s a start, right? And at the same time, learning how to cook is one of the most important life skills you can have next to swimming and driving a car.
Who knows, if you discover a passion for cooking, you might even become inspired to turn it into a business eventually!
7. Take some time to read.
At some point in our lives, we’ve always told ourselves that “I’d love to read a good book… if only I had the time.” Even if you think this is a blessing in disguise or not, the pandemic has given us just that: the time to do things we wished we did, if only we weren’t so busy with life. So, pick up that book you’ve always wanted to read. And make good use of your free time right now. Who knows, you might even get to start a book club or a reading group with friends or to help young learners online? It’s all about maximizing your time for your benefit and others, as well.
8. Unwind with some relaxing music.
Whether you listen to music just for the enjoyment of it, relaxation, or to aid with sleep, there’s no doubt that the benefits are effective especially if you just need a good diversion or to calm your nerves from too much thinking, especially at night.
9. Calm your senses with a cup of tea.
Another great way to calm your nerves and to relax your body is by drinking tea. There are many variants out there you can choose from but the best (and commonly available) ones with a calming effect according to Healthline.com are:
- Lemon balm,
- Green tea,
- Ginseng, and
10. Get adequate rest and sleep.
This can be tricky for some people because anxiety and stress can cause insomnia and unhealthy sleeping habits. But we all know the importance of sleep, yes? That said, it’s best to achieve this using a combination of the other tips listed here. Tips 4, 7, 8, and 9 are a good combination to achieve adequate rest and sleep.
11. Keep a clean environment.
Even if you don’t think about it, there’s an important connection between your environment and general wellbeing. That said, keeping your surroundings clean not only is a good way to keep yourself busy and take your mind off stressful things but it can also lighten up the ambiance, creating more positive energy and vibe in your daily life.
12. Set new healthy habits.
Now that everyone’s stuck at home most of the time, much of what we’re used to doing before have all changed and that means we need to adopt new behaviors, activities, and habits that will help us stay safe, healthy, and positive (if not happy) even during a pandemic.
13. Pursue a hobby.
One good way to develop healthy habits is by pursuing a new hobby. This could be anything from learning how to play an instrument, cooking, gardening, or studying a new language. That said, now’s a great time to do something you’ve always wanted to do/learn.
14. Take care of a pet.
Perhaps before the pandemic, you felt that you had too little time to care for yourself, more so take care of a pet. But now that health protocols require us to stay at home and to observe physical distancing, one good way to maintain a healthy disposition during these times is to focus on taking care of someone or something like a pet. And when it comes to taking care of a pet, you can choose either to adopt or to get one from the store. That said, make sure to choose a pet that suits the level of care or attention you can give it. This way, you can ensure taking care of their needs to the best of your capabilities.
15. Keep a journal.
Now that we have more time to reflect and do some introspection, a good way to do this is by keeping a journal. Journaling can be a good way to process your thoughts and emotions during these challenging times and listen to that voice inside your head. In doing so, you can evaluate your feelings and thoughts and figure out what are the things that are causing you stress right now. And hopefully, be able to deal with them effectively through the tips we shared in this list.
16. Watch the news only when necessary.
As we are fast approaching a full year that has been plagued with negative news and information from social media and the internet, it’s safe to say that everything we need to know, we already know by now. That said, we need to try to limit our consumption of the news and to focus only on important developments such as the progress of the vaccines being developed so that we won’t have to deal with unnecessary stressors that could lead to negative emotions such as anxiety and depression, especially during these times.
17. Offer help to others.
One effective way to help yourself is to help others. By trying not to focus too much on your needs, and instead, extend whatever help you can to help others, you can free yourself from self-destructive emotions such as fear, panic, and anxiety. This way, you are effectively helping yourself as well as others.
18. Explore new ways to stay connected.
Somehow, we are still lucky to be living during a time where technology has made it more convenient for everyone to stay connected (through instant messaging, calls, emails, and video chats). That said, we must use these tools to maintain healthy connections with the people around us, even if only virtually as of the moment.
19. Set new goals for yourself.
The importance of setting goals is that it gives you something to look forward to, and at the same time have a sense of purpose – two things which some people do not see during these times. Whether you want to be healthier, fitter, or smarter, don’t hesitate to put your mind and effort into it. Anything that can help improve yourself is worth setting a goal for!
20. Pick up a profitable activity or hobby.
Because of the effect of the global health crisis on the world economy, hundreds and thousands of people have lost their jobs and are now looking for new ways to make ends meet. This definitely can be a great source of stress and anxiety for a lot of people, especially OFWs, who are mostly the breadwinners of their families back home. That said, one important thing you can do during these times is to find a passion or a hobby from which you can earn a living or at least help with the expenses.
As they say, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, but for many of us, a lot of the things we can do to adapt to the ‘new normal’ we’re living in right now are quite simple and practical – things we may have overlooked back when everything was too busy and normal. That said, one of the important things we need to learn right now is how to adopt a new and healthy perspective on how we should live our lives now.
No one can tell for sure how long the global crisis is going to affect every one of us directly and indirectly, but one thing’s for sure: stress will always be a part of our daily lives. That said, we must learn how to effectively manage our thoughts and emotions, as well as deal with stress.
By taking note of all the tips shared in this guide, you can effectively adopt new behaviors and methods on how to deal with stress that’s being aggravated by the ongoing global crisis. That said, remember that you’re not going through these alone. Everyone is experiencing different kinds (and levels) of stress during this time, too. The important thing is how to manage this healthily.