Best Ways to Reduce Stress During COVID-19

Young woman covered with a colourful paint.s head indicating stress

With the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak looming in our daily lives, you can’t avoid the barrage of news alerts, Facebook messages, or anxious phone calls from friends and family. It is not surprising that we are all seeking ways to reduce stress.

Signals You Are Stressed Out

Stress manifests itself differently in everyone. You may have some of the common signs of stress, or something that is atypical and appears out of nowhere. It is important to recognize the symptoms for what they are in order to alleviate the stress in a healthy way. 

We care about our Simply Wonderful Buys readers. We want to make sure you are informed and can stay physically, mentally, and behaviorally healthy during these terrifying and trying times. Below are some symptoms you or a loved one may experience, and some may surprise you.

red-head girl sitting at table feeling stressed out

Physical Signs of Stress

  • Loss of appetite
  • Binge eating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Jumpy
  • Headaches
  • Body chills or excessive sweating

Emotional or Mental Signs of Stress 

  • Unnecessary Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Indecisive
  • Forgetful
  • Confusion
  • Fear
  • Overwhelming sadness
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling guilty 
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Invincible
  • Lack of Empathy

Behavioral Signs of Stress

  • Desire to isolate yourself
  • Non-Stop worrying 
  • Insomnia
  • Increased drug or alcohol use
  • Excessive arguing
  • Easily irritated
  • Angry outbursts
  • Prone to crying
  • Difficulty unwinding or relaxing
  • Change in energy level
  • Irrational blaming

Wow! What a list. As you can imagine, it is difficult to diagnose the symptom as stress-related, and even more challenging to know what to do about it. We’ve assembled some strategies on what you can do to reduce stress.

Woman strolling on lake walk

Know Yourself – Pay Attention to Changes in Mind and Body

  • Spot warning signs early. Early detection is crucial to getting it under control.
  • Discuss your thoughts with others. Rational, intelligent discussions go a long way in helping you feel better.
  • Make time to enjoy ordinary discussions that are not about COVID-19. Remind yourself of all the good things in life. 
  • Understand these signals of stress are typical to experience in an outbreak like COVID-19. It does not mean you are different or weak. 
  • Understand how your own experiences can affect your feelings and thoughts. Our pasts sometimes can sneak in sideways.
  • Spend time getting energized by helping others, mediation, or another constructive activity.

Stay Healthy

  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, our bodies consist of 60% water. The heart and brain are 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. Keep them hydrated and in tip-top shape.
  • Select healthy food choices to keep your body’s immune system operating at full capacity.
  • Get out and move. A little sunshine and physical activity do wonders for the body AND the soul.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Your body recovers and heals while you sleep. Make the best use of that time.
  • Stay away from excessive alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. These will weaken your system leaving your prey to unnecessary stressors.
  • And of course, avoid illegal drug use.  Duh…

Get Your Facts from a Credible Source

There is a lot of information out there, and much of it is conflicting. How do you know who to believe? Locate resources you can depend on for accurate health information. 

Here are two organizations, in particular, that are generally known to be credible, and you can gather information on how to protect yourself and your family from them.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  2. World Health Organization (WHO) 
Dog and Girl are best friends cuddled on grassy hill

Reduce Stress by Keeping the Situation in Perspective

Try not to obsess about the situation. Staying up to date on news alerts does not mean watching continually through the day.  

  • Setting a limit on COVID-19 news will allow you to focus on things you can control and are positive.
  • Relax often by doing things you enjoy – stretching, meditation, yoga, or other activities you enjoy. 
  • Pace yourself between stressful activities, and do a fun thing after a hard task. 
  • Cook and eat a fantastic meal. Food preparation, and of course, eating it too, can be therapeutic for some folks. Just don’t eat ALL your quarantine snacks in one day.
  • Read a good book. Get out of the news and allow your mind to get into the story.
  • Music is an excellent way to relax and distract yourself. Explore interesting playlists and check out different artists than you usually hear. 
  • Take a hot bath. Not only will you be squeaky clean but relaxed as well.
  • Visit with friends. Take a break to focus on positive things.
  • Color a Mandala. Research has demonstrated that coloring a mandala can reduce stress.

This article is generic in nature and intended to help you reduce stress in productive ways. It is not intended to diagnose any symptoms you may have. If you have serious concerns about your health or the health of a person you care about, seek advice from a healthcare expert or facility.

By CJ Bentley

"Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life.” ~ Dr. Mae Jemison, Engineer, Physician, and NASA Astronaut

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