Stress can keep you from feeling and performing your best — mentally, physically, and emotionally-- so it is important to know how to manage the stress in your life.
Rabat – The novel coronavirus outbreak has people turning to social distancing as a way to help “flatten the curve,” or contain the spread of the illness to a level that the healthcare system can manage.
In addition to the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic, social distancing can take a serious mental toll. Disruption to your normal routine, fear, and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause emotional drain for both adults and children.
Stress is part of life, but overwhelming or chronic stress can have many negative consequences. While you cannot always control your circumstances, you can control how you react to and deal with them.
These are some tips to help you cope with stress and make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger:
Showing self-compassion is not being self-centered or self-indulgent. Self-compassion is self-kindness. It is the ability to treat oneself with acceptance, empathy, understanding, and love.
Many people find it easy to show compassion to others, but find it difficult to extend the same compassion to themselves for fear of being seen as egotistical and self-centered.
Self-compassion can help reduce many mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, or insecurity.
It is important to care for ourselves during difficult times like these. We should remember that we are flawed and imperfect like all humans, and acknowledge and accept difficult feelings with kindness to help us process them and then let them go.
Meditation has many health benefits, including as a highly effective way to relieve stress. It instills a sense of calm, peace, and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health.
There are many different forms of meditation, and it may or may not come in combination with other spiritual practices. You can use it in several important ways: each one is unique and brings its own appeal.
You can meditate by using different techniques such as mindfulness, which involves focusing on a particular object, activity, or thought to help you establish awareness, mental clarity, emotional calmness, and stability.
Indulge in different activities and hobbies
Some of the distress of social distancing and staying home stems from boredom and frustration.
Usually, we do not make enough time to enjoy the things we love. Social distancing might be just the perfect opportunity to indulge in different activities or try new hobbies.
Using your extra time for leisure activities can be a wonderful way to relieve stress. Turn your attention to a hobby you enjoy, be it gardening, reading, cooking, sewing, or sketching.
Any activity that requires focusing on the task at hand rather than worrying about other things is one key to living your best life.
Talk to family and friends
Talking to loved ones can be the best tool for handling stress. By sharing what is going on in your life with family and friends, you can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.
Staying in touch with others by phone and text is important for reducing the sense of boredom or isolation. Talking to others who are going through the same thing can also provide a sense of community and empowerment.
Video chatting is another great way to stay connected to loved ones when visiting them is not an option. One quick smartphone call can let you reunite, see a face you love, and share your feelings from the confinement of your home.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine
It is critical to avoid, or at least reduce your consumption of nicotine and any drinks containing caffeine. Having them in high dosages can add even more stress to your life.
The stimulants can increase your anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate, making it difficult to maintain good sleeping habits and possibly leading to other serious health issues.
You can swap your intakes of nicotine and caffeine with water, herbal teas, or natural fruit juices. Aim to keep yourself hydrated, as this will also enable your body to cope better with stress.
Eating well-balanced meals and having a healthy diet can help you combat stress in the short- and long-term.
High-fat, high-sugar, and processed foods can cause a spike in blood sugar. This can reduce your energy, leading you to feel tired and irritable, further compounding stress and anxiety.
You should aim to avoid or reduce your intake of refined sugars. Try to eat food that contains vitamins, and minerals that actively help with stress relief such as herbal teas, whole grains, fish, nuts, citrus fruits, avocados, and bananas.
Start a journal
Keeping a diary or a journal that explores thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life can be great stress management and a self-exploration tool.
Journaling can help you focus on gratitude and process difficult emotions. Whether you consistently or occasionally write in detail about stressful events or happy situations, writing will help you clarify your thoughts and feelings, giving you valuable self-awareness.
Your journal can be the key not only to better understanding your thoughts and emotions, but also to connecting with yourself, which can help you with your mental health in the long run.
‘Laughter is the best medicine’
Laughter not only lightens your mood, but also causes positive physical changes in your body. Whether you are watching a comedy show or reading jokes online, laughter is a great form of stress relief.
The process enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins your brain releases.
Laughing easily and frequently can help combat stress, enhance your relationships, and support both physical and emotional health.
Take a break from the news and cheer up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video, read some comics, or tell jokes with your friends.
Art is a peaceful, relaxing, and inspiring activity for many people, whether you choose to create it or simply observe and enjoy it.
Creating and indulging in art helps you slow down and observe any issues you might be having: It takes your mind off things so you can recognize your emotions and thoughts.
The process of making art can also help with self-esteem and improving confidence, as well as fighting anxiety, depression, or emotional trauma by relieving stress and relaxing the mind and body.
You do not need talent to benefit from art. Human beings are innately creative, and art can come in many different forms. It all depends on what you enjoy. Your art could be sketching, painting, dancing, writing, or simply cooking with creative flair.
The quality and amount of your sleep can affect your mood, energy level, concentration, and overall functioning.
Make sure that you have a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine. Your bed and surroundings need to be comfortable.
Keep your bedroom dark and quiet. Listen to soothing music, or if you prefer, you can put white noise in the background to drown out energetic or jarring sounds.
Refrain from exercising before bed and avoid caffeine or fizzy drinks. Try to have a healthy, well-balanced, and nutritious diet. Finally, make sure you follow a routine–a solid sleep schedule is something you must develop over time.