25 Mar 2020 Reducing Stress during the COVID-19 Crisis
The ongoing (and accelerating) COVID-19 calamity is having a very negative impact on virtually everyone, whether directly or indirectly affected. During the American Revolutionary War Thomas Paine wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Although written for a very different situation, these words are very applicable to people dealing with the COVID-19 crisis – we all must fight to defeat the virus and ultimately return to our American way of life. One way to help accomplish this is by keeping a positive attitude as we adjust to the changes in our lives.
According to the CDC, stress during an infectious disease outbreak such as COVID-19 can include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Among people who are most influenced by this type of stress are seniors, who are among the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 infection, and the caregivers who take care of them.
I personally have found that having a positive attitude during stressful times really helps in dealing with the situations that are causing the stress, situations such as upcoming medical procedures, financial setbacks and now the COVID-19 contagion. Telling yourself that things are better than they might actually be is always more therapeutic than thinking that they might be worse and is definitely less stressful. It works for me and probably will work for you as well.
Other ways to reduce COVID-19 induced stress include:
- Not overloading on news reports about the virus, which are overwhelmingly negative
- Trying to adhere to your normal daily activities as much as possible (albeit not easy if you are sheltered in place at home)
- Participating in activities you enjoy (hobbies, reading and the like)
- Staying connected with family and friends (social distancing does not mean social isolation)
- Maintaining your physical health through exercise and a healthy diet
- Doing something new and creative such as writing a book, taking up a musical instrument or learning a foreign language
- Working on jigsaw and other puzzles
- Having a date night with your significant other – dress up a little, order some nice delivery food and open a good bottle of wine
- Reconnect with nature, either viewing through your windows or with an outdoor walk – it is truly a beautiful world out there
- Organizing those closets (if you are like me, that’s been on a “to do” list forever)
Remember – staying positive will help in keeping COVID-19 stress at a distance.