Looking how to manage COVID-19 stress? The pandemic has certainly had a profound effect on all of us. While we wish we could all take a break and catch our collective breath, the coronavirus’s effect on the economy and on our work-life has forced us to deal with a whole new set of challenges.
It’s a challenge to continue taking care of yourself and manage COVID-19 stress.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an equalizer of sorts in the sense that it has affected the lives of every person, rich or poor, anywhere in the world.
Businesses are struggling to stay afloat but people are losing their jobs. While we all await the vaccine that will finally make the world feel safe again, some of us are luckily allowed to work from home. But is it any less stressful? Nope.
If anything, we feel even more tired.
The uncertainty of the future makes us stressed even if we try to deny it. This is most evident in a disrupted sleep routine, among others. We stay indoors on lockdown or in quarantine yet we feel extremely exhausted.
The effect on the physical and mental well-being is evident. According to Patient: “lots of people have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings — from sadness and anger to tiredness and feeling groggy.”
But we have to work. We need to earn a living to continue to live. Besides, if we unfortunately catch the virus, we may as well have some money stashed away for medication and treatment.
Look after yourself and manage stress even as you are in self-quarantine and sheltering-in-place.
Here are simple ways of managing stress while we work from home.
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As digital marketers and small business owners, this pandemic has taught us to think long-term and keep on with our online marketing and brand-building efforts anyway.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, long-term stress can harm your health.
Coping with the impact of chronic stress can be challenging. Because the source of long-term stress is more constant than acute stress, the body never receives a clear signal to return to normal functioning.
With chronic stress, those same lifesaving reactions in the body can disturb the immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and reproductive systems. Some people may experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, sadness, anger, or irritability.
Over time, continued strain on your body from stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, including mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.
1. Take a break from the news
Materials you read affect your emotions and disposition. You may get stressed and anxious from reading bad news (and lately, it’s mostly bad news).
Send kindness your way by closing that browser, putting down your phone, or turning off the television.
Look around you and be aware of the present. Try to identify things (or people) you can be grateful for.
Easier said than done, but it can be done.
2. Take care of your body
So gyms and spas are closed. Now it’s up to you to look after your health and well-being also for the sake of your family.
Make healthy eating choices, drink lots of water, take your vitamins, try to get enough sleep and rest, and exercise at home.
Schedule breaks like you would if you were working in your office. Don’t work while having your meals.
Allow your mind to rest from time to time. Preventing mental fatigue will help prevent a possible mental breakdown.
Did you know that there’s such a thing as Zoom fatigue? It’s that feeling you get when you feel burnt out from constantly using teleconference apps. Read more about it here: “How To Deal With Zoom Fatigue (According To The Experts)”.
3. Make time to unwind
Find pockets of time to do something that really gives you joy, like playing with your pet, watering your plants, or listening to some soothing music.
Make time for them in your schedule like you would for every task you need to accomplish.
Self-care is productive. Remember that.
4. Connect with others
Get off your gadget and have a conversation with the people you live with at home, or reach out to a friend and check on them.
A simple, “How are you?” can save someone’s day, just by the fact that the other person feels cared for (especially those who live alone).
Find creative ways to enjoy hanging out with your friends, like virtual pizza night, virtual book club sessions, or virtual film review sessions with a cold bottle of your favorite drink.
5. Other Tips
The National Institute of Mental Health has listed a few other tips that may help you to manage COVID-19 stress.
- Be observant. Recognize the signs of your body’s response to stress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol and other substance use, being easily angered, feeling depressed, and having low energy.
- Set goals and priorities. Decide what must get done now and what can wait. Learn to say “no” to new tasks if you start to feel like you’re taking on too much. Try to be mindful of what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do.
- Talk to your health care provider or a health professional. Don’t wait for your health care provider to ask about your stress. Start the conversation and get proper health care for existing or new health problems. Effective treatments can help if your stress is affecting your relationships or ability to work.
While we all feel stressed out from time to time, there’s just simply too much work to be done even while we’re working from home. Read: “How Can I Work From Home More Effectively? (9 Useful Tips for Digital Marketers)”.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by stress? If you are, do yourself a favor and ask for help from a health professional.
You should seek help right away if you have suicidal thoughts, are overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, or are using drugs or alcohol more frequently as a result of stress. Your doctor may be able to provide a recommendation. Resources are available to help you find a mental health provider.
A Final Word on Managing COVID-19 Stress
If you take practical steps to manage your stress, you may reduce the risk of negative health effects.
We will survive if we look after each other and follow the protocols. If we stay healthy, the community stays healthy, and hopefully — someday soon — COVID-19 can finally be eradicated. But we begin by managing stress.
If you don’t know where to begin, simply follow the tips we listed above. This nightmare will eventually end. Let us do our best to come out of this lockdown as better versions of our old self.
We leave you with this video from the Centers of Disease Control: