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How To Manage Stress During This Pandemic

    Following a few of these tips may help your employees to better cope with the stress created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This tips sheet covers understanding the common reactions you may experience as yourself and others during the COVID-19 pandemic, things you can do to take care of yourself and cope with feelings of stress, anxiety, or grief related to COVID-19, and useful resources and supports. Taking care of our well-being in times such as these can help to mitigate stress, and is critical in allowing us to still act calmly and effectively amid this global crisis.

    Anxiety over the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as fears for our health and the health of loved ones, for our finances, and for the loss of access to needed support services, can take a devastating toll. The pandemic may be stressful for many individuals, as they cope with the uncertainties and disruptions in daily lives. Some common causes of stress during the coronavirus pandemic are uncertainty, a lack of routine, and reduced social support, said Mark Flanagan, LMSW, MPH, MA, social worker at Cancer Wellness of Piedmont.

    Change is stressful, and stress leads to anxiety, which adversely impacts our mental and physical health. The constant changing environment of the news creates lots of stress, and that stress is amplified if you are sleep-deprived. It is particularly important to get the recommended amount of sleep right now, both to keep focused at work and to handle the stress the current pandemic may bring. Creating and maintaining a routine every day will help you manage your current challenging times and help you feel more in control.

    During these times of uncertainty, use the time to take control over as much as possible of your domestic situation. This period of uncertainty can be stressful for adults and children, but tempering expectations on yourself and your children, as well as finding ways to spend your time, you will make it through. When so many things seem uncertain or beyond our control, one of the most powerful ways to handle stress and anxiety is to focus on actions we do have control over. If we are taking control of our physical actions, our minds learn to stop automatically suggesting we should be going into crisis mode.

    By taking your mind off of things, you will experience less stress and an increased sense of wellbeing. Taking a few minutes for yourself reduces stress and allows your nerve pathways to make new connections, thus creating new habits. Meditation helps to regain your sense of control, while you concentrate on the breath or on a positive word or phrase.

    Despite maintaining a physical distance, we can keep a connection to society and take care of our mental health. Social support can be valuable to those in need, and helping others manage stress will enhance our communities socially. Social distancing due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) is the best we can do now to reduce our communities risk for spreading the virus.

    The Australian Department of Health has recommended that important actions that we all can take to help prevent infection and to stop COVID-19 spreading include practicing good hygiene, isolation, and social distancing (physical distance). It may help to step back and assess how you are managing stress related to coronavirus (COVID-19) and social distancing. As stress levels rise during the pandemic, take some time to be present and challenged with your perspective. Remember, 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.

    Stress management is important to good physical health, and is particularly crucial now that our world is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. These 10 tips from the psychiatry department at University of Maryland Medical Center may help you reduce your stress. Leave the room where your child is in for a few minutes, allow for some alone time, or turn to friends, family, or mental health professionals when you need some extra assistance.

    Schedule blocks of time to do self-care activities like making healthy meals, stretching, going on walks outdoors, and practicing breathing exercises and other helpful techniques. Self-care activities may include exercising, meditation, going outdoors, reading, taking a bubble bath, drawing, journaling, gardening, cooking healthy meals, or enjoying favorite hobbies. While gyms are closing and social distancing guidelines are being put into place, there is still the option of engaging in aerobic activity such as walking, running, hiking, or playing with children/pets, aerobic activity helps to release endorphins (natural substances that make you feel better and keep you in a positive frame of mind).

    Planning ahead for tomorrow early in the day can help reduce stress related to what is coming. In the meantime, do what you can to manage stress, practicing self-care, engaging with a support network, and limiting media exposure. While staying informed is important, doing the best you can to manage stress yourself is important, too, and helping those around you do the same. Talking about our concerns, thoughts, and feelings with others also helps us to come up with helpful ways of thinking about or dealing with stressful situations.

    Following these steps for managing stress and adding a sense of normalcy can go a long way in helping you deal with an ever-changing news environment, and help you to keep the people around you, particularly children, calm and focused. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and respond to the pressing needs of protecting yourself and your family. This is a time of stress, and people should be free to focus on their families, especially because so much of our time over the last year has been spent working from home, staying at home with family, and trying to get by. That is not to say that this time has not been notably difficult, but if we focus on what we can control, and on doing things that are beneficial for our health and that of those around us, we will emerge from it perhaps a more complete condition, and with a renewed perspective.

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