There is no question that the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted our lives, both personally and professionally. During this time, it is important to focus on what we can control – our well-being. Read on for advice on how to deal with stress and anxiety while maintaining normalcy as much as possible.
Talk to people you trust: Reach out to a friend or family member and tell them how you’re feeling. Sometimes talking to someone can be beneficial and help take away some of the stress.1 Remember, it is entirely normal to feel stressed, confused, sad, angry, scared, worried, or any emotion that you might be feeling during a crisis.
Get the facts: Try not to fall for misinformation, which is especially prevalent on social media or the internet right now. Instead, find a credible source you can trust – websites such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus) and the World Health Organization (www.who.int), or a local or state public health agency. While it is important to stay current on what is happening, try to avoid watching, reading, or listening to news frequently, as it can cause you to feel even more anxious or distressed.
Plan ahead: Being continuously inside your home without many social outings can bring on stress. Not to mention a new system of time management. Who are we fooling? Just because we may be working from home definitely does NOT mean we have the time to be the chef for each and every meal. Make sure you are still setting aside time to prepare for the busy work-week. Create pantry lists and forecast the meal plan for the week. Lastly, don’t forget to plan to get to bed on time. It is important to get enough sleep so you can better deal with these stressful situations.2
Listen to music: Playing relaxing music can help you cope with stress.3 This could include spa music, rain sounds, white noise, and others. Find what works best for you! Do you do your best work while blasting Pop hits? Then turn it up, because your coworkers can’t hear you!
Try meditation: Meditation can help you relax, gain skills to manage stress, reduce negative thoughts, and feel a sense of calmness- all which can benefit your health. There are many ways to meditate including guided meditation, mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation, and more. You can find so many virtual classes online, through apps on your phone, or try YouTube videos. Even focusing your attention on breathing can be a great technique.
Make Time for Exercise: You might be busy with work from the time you wake up, to the time you log-off, but make time for movement that feels good! Getting up from your desk to walk around, get more water or a snack, and doing a quick stretch will help keep your blood flowing and your mind focused. Try not to let yourself fall into the habit of working beyond the normal workload, just because you are at home. Make sure you are still scheduling your work responsibilities appropriately, and making time to stay physically active. You can go for a walk, use a workout app, or take a virtual exercise class. Of course, always check with your doctor before starting a new workout program.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping. Mayo Clinic. 2017. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544. Accessed March 24, 2020.
- Why stress causes people to overeat. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Health Medical School. 2018. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/why-stress-causes-people-to-overeat. Accessed March 24, 2020.
- Legg, TJ. 5 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress. Healthline. 2016. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/holiday-stress-management-tips#4. Accessed March 24, 2020.