Some people have felt the weight of the pandemic much more profoundly than others and have been dealing with more stress and anxiety as a result. If lockdowns and social distancing have taken their toll on your stress and anxiety levels, try the following tips to bring some control back into your life.
Take Some Time for Yourself
If you feel the stress and anxiety mounting, put down what you are doing, take a step back, and breathe. Get some air, take a walk, relax in a warm tub with soothing music, or try meditation or yoga.
Vigorous activity triggers the release of endorphins, which are hormones that interact with special receptors in your brain to alter your perception of pain and make you feel good in general. If you haven’t exercised for a long time, just get moving a little. Doing some stretches or going for a leisurely walk are great ways to get moving and release tension.
Plan your meals, so you know your body is getting the energy and nutrients it needs. Have some healthy, energy-boosting snacks you can grab at a moment’s notice. Instead of donuts and candy bars, keep a well-stocked bowl of fruit. Other nutritious foods you can consider include eggs, oatmeal, nuts, green tea, sweet potatoes, and natural yogurt.
Reduce Alcohol and Caffeine
Caffeine can make you jittery and nervous, which can exacerbate your stress and anxiety levels. It’s also not a good idea to indulge in alcohol when struggling with mental health issues as it can make symptoms worse or lead to addiction.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Lack of sleep is never a good thing, and it has been linked to a range of health issues, including depression, diabetes, inflammation, heart disease, and stroke, to name just a few. Good quality sleep for 7 or 8 hours a day can do wonders for your mental fortitude.
Learn Deep Breathing Exercises
If you start to feel the stress pile on, a deep breathing exercise will help keep you calm. Try this 4-7-8 breathing technique: breathe in to the count of 4, hold for the count of 7, and breathe out to the count of 8.
Learn Your Triggers
A journal documenting the times you feel stressed or anxious will provide clues about what may trigger these feelings. When you know the cause of the emotions, you can introduce pre-emptive coping mechanisms to prevent them from taking hold.
Go Easy on Yourself
It’s okay to do your best, but don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t perfect. Nobody can achieve perfection, so acknowledge the positive choices that you’ve made. Giving yourself credit along the way can motivate you to keep moving forward towards your goals.
Keep Yourself Busy
Even if you work from home, you can still keep a routine. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner regularly. Showering and dressing in nice clothes every morning will help you feel better than skipping your shower and lounging about in your pajamas all day.
Connect with Real People
Connect with your friends or family. Even if you aren’t able to visit them physically, have a video chat with your usual support network. A video call is also another great reason to get out of your pajamas. Get together with friends and family in person, such as meeting up for a walk.
If anxiety seems to be getting the better of you, consider counseling. You can learn more here: Anxiety Treatment