As COVID is raging all around us, I see a surge in stress levels on HRA scores, indicating that people are not managing stress effectively. I also receive messages like “This is too hard for me to cope with”, “What will happen in the future?” showing higher than usual levels of general anxiety and stress amongst us all. During a crisis like this, it is common for everyone to experience increased levels of anxiety and distress particularly due to social isolation, fear of the unknown and concern regarding the health of oneself and a loved one.
The tell tale sign of a spiraling high stress/anxiety levels are:
- Feelings of fear, frustration, sadness, worry or anger that doesn’t go away with tried methods of managing stress
- Changes in appetite levels, energy levels, desires and interests
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Overthinking, difficulty in sleeping or nightmares
- Physical response, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances
Tips For Managing Stress Levels
Learning to cope with high stress levels in a healthy way is the need of the hour. I am listing some suggestions below that might help you or your dear ones in managing the current crisis on an emotional level.
- Feel free to feel your feelings: Do not bottle up, share your thoughts with people you trust. If you are in isolation, find ways to talk to your loved ones using internet/telephonic services. Share your thoughts/feelings with your GOQii coach if need be.
- Manage your expectations: Go easy on yourself. It’s okay if chores are pending, office work or a report is pending. Be realistic in what you can do in a day. Do not overwhelm yourself by your own thoughts of comparison with past productivity and your worries of the future.
- Set a routine: Eat well, exercise well, sleep well, meditate once a day or unwind by doing something you enjoy like card games, painting, playing an instrument, reading a book or watching a comic series, you get the idea right? Just stay away from social media and constant news related to the virus, and follow a routine. A healthy routine is a human’s best friend.
- Stay in the present: Manage uncertainty by staying in the present. Think about the next one hour at max. Over dwelling on thoughts of the future, even thoughts of tomorrow, can cause you more fear related to uncertainty. So stay in the present – use mindfulness meditation techniques which are proven to be very effective.
- If health is your major reason for stress, please know that the human body is wonderfully capable of healing itself. Time is the best healer. So hang in there and give your body time to recover. Having said that, do not undermine the need for medical assistance when an emergency arises. If your symptoms warrant you to seek medical attention, please meet your treating doctor at the earliest. Remember, you have sailed through many health crises in the past (a bruised knee, a broken leg, a tooth extraction, a stye in the eye and so on), reassure yourself that you’ll sail through this as well.
- Stay in the company of positive people OR be the positive influencer for people around you. Believe in the power of positive emotions such as kindness, honesty, contentment. These emotions improve our immunity, which as you know, is our main warrior when dealing with a virus. Give hope to anyone who you know is recovering from the viral infection. Just a few words of hope can do more good than you can imagine.
- Accept and let go: When it becomes really tough, breathe deeply, use the mantra “this too shall pass” and learn to let go.
Not everything from the above might be applicable to you, so go as per your ability. I hope and sincerely do, you will not let yourself be vulnerable in these current times – physically nor emotionally! Wishing our world a quick recovery!
Stay safe, manage your stress and #BeTheForce