The other day I realized I was exhausted just from keeping up with the day to day tasks of life. Adding anything extra just seems overwhelming right now! It lead me to wonder why everyday life seems so exhausting right now. It could be the stress and uncertainty of life right now. So how can we take better care of ourselves during these uncertain times to help reduce stress?
Reframe Your Thoughts
It is normal to feel stressed and anxious during a crisis. But negative emotions like fear and worry reduce our ability to think clearly and focus on priorities. On days where it seems like nothing can go right, be kind to yourself and try to focus on the positives. Even in bad times there is something to be grateful for. It may be a small thing such as a hot shower or a text from a friend.
There is so much that is out of our control right now! This can be difficult to accept. Focusing on things that you can control helps shift your focus and can help you feel less overwhelmed.
You cannot control the outbreak in your area, but you can take steps to reduce your own risk including:
- Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often
- Don’t touch your face
- Stay home, even if you do not feel sick
- Avoid crowds and large gatherings of people
- Do not travel unless it is essential
- Stay 6 feet away from other people when out
- Wear a facial covering.
Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and staying active are proven stress management techniques that are important to maintain during this trying time.
Try to avoid stress eating and choose more nutritious whole foods instead of prepared or processed foods. Healthy meals focus on whole grains, vegetables, and fruits with small portions of meat or poultry. Planning your meals ahead of time may help you stick to eating healthy. If you have children, include them in the planning and preparation process. Kids can help write shopping lists, find recipes, measure ingredients, and make meals. Depending on your children’s age, they may be able to make dinner for the family one night a week.
Find time to exercise. Physical activity helps relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and manage your emotions. Get moving by taking a walk, go for a hike or bike ride! Another option is online exercise videos. Streaming services such as amazon prime also have exercise videos.
Get enough sleep! Maybe you have always had issues with sleeping or maybe this is a new issue, either way, quality sleep is essential! Poor sleep can make you moody or irritable as well as cause issues with your ability to function during the day. If stress and anxiety are causing sleep problems learn ways to address the issues so that you can sleep. Consider practicing a relaxation technique such as meditation or a breathing exercise to help prepare you for sleep.
Social distancing though important right now, can make one feel isolated and lonely and can increase anxiety and depression. During this time, it is important to stay in touch with friends and family and reach out for support when needed. Schedule regular calls or video calls with family and friends if you tend to withdraw when anxious or depressed. Video chats are a great way to have one-on-one contact and can improve your mood and ease stress and anxiety.
Social media can be another tool used for connecting with friends and family. However, it is important to pay attention to how social media is making you feel. If people or topics are causing you to feel anxious or depressed do not hesitate to unfollow or mute them.
Remember that it is okay to feel whatever you are feeling. Try to keep things in perspective and understand that you are not alone.