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10 ways to deal with pandemic stress and overwhelm Health Education

The pandemic has had a significant impact on many people in different ways, be it physical, financial or emotional. The situation is aggravating stress and worry in addition to the existing difficulties and challenges in our lives, and it can be a dangerous turning point not to be able to escape the harrowing news and fear of uncertainty.

Here are 10 ways to take a step back and overcome the overwhelming:

Nourish your connections

The need for connection is part of the human constitution, and building stress in times like these requires a way out. While it can be difficult to see people face to face, technology can bring you closer to friends and family. Chat about the weather or have a deep and meaningful conversation, no matter what you’re comfortable with. If you don’t have people in your offline life, don’t forget that online relationships and acquaintances also count. Stay in touch with phone calls, WhatsApp and video chats, or reach others in Facebook groups and forums. If you need professional help, please seek it as you shouldn’t feel like you have to do it alone.

Unravel your mind

There are a few things you can try when it comes to clearing your head and disappointing your mind. Exercise can promote endorphins and refresh you mentally, and breathing techniques can be soothing and stimulating. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are popular for a reason, as they can offer a number of mental and physical health benefits. You can go at your own pace, or use self-help books, apps, and online tutorials to guide you. What is also great is that you can have a long or short session as regularly or not as often as you want, whatever suits your lifestyle. Mindfulness is something that can be gradually built into everyday life, so here and there only a few moments add up. Slow it down and let your thoughts go without making a judgment. Bring yourself into the present and focus on the now, appreciate the little things, and gradually let go of the things you cannot control as you feel the tension in your body ease.

Let your voice be heard

I’m not talking about running or sweating on the elliptical trainer. With so many choices that we can’t make, especially when it comes to corona virus developments and limitations, we can feel helpless. The same applies to other issues around the world such as racism, riot and criminal violence. The lack of control and helplessness can cause a variety of emotions to arise, and we become increasingly worried, angry, frustrated, and so on. If you have a passion for something, commit yourself in every little way to give yourself a sense of achievement and inclusion. Make your voice heard by writing, tweeting, or signing online petitions to your local MPs.

Dealing with distractions

If you feel overwhelmed, distractions can be surprisingly beneficial. For people with chronic pain or illness, distractions can be part of a routine to take a little break over the course of the day. Try to put the situation and your thoughts aside, switch off and get lost in something that you enjoy, or at least something that can keep you busy, be it for a few hours or ten minutes. It can be a TV series, garden, puzzle and crossword puzzles or anything else that you can use to calibrate yourself for a short time.

Step back and switch off

It is important to keep up to date with developments in the world, especially with regard to the ever-evolving governmental coronavirus guidelines, but at some point it will be helpful to be stressful and unhealthy. If the constant bombardment of news, statistics, and opinions overwhelms everything a little, reduce your message intake and limit your social media time. If necessary, set limits for both.

Make room for a smile

What makes you smile and brings a feeling of joy? What do you like to do? Make sure you pencil in time for these things. If you need quick pickups, search online for memes, cute photos, jokes, or funny videos. A real smile and laugh therapy are invaluable when it comes to relieving tension.

Be proactive in your virus efforts

While you cannot control how others behave or what the government decides in their briefings, you can proactively make your own efforts to protect yourself and your family. We all have a role in the fight against the corona virus. Be proactive when setting up cleaning routines at home and when you go out. Make sure you have all the products you need for household cleaning as well as personal hygiene and protection, such as hand wash, antibacterial sprays, face masks and disinfectant gels. We cannot guarantee ourselves and our families 100% protection against the virus. Only living in a bubble in space would probably guarantee this, so we can only do our best. By proactively doing everything you can reasonably do, you can feel a bit more controlled and confident in these times of uncertainty.

Invest in your environment

As you take control of the issues you love and proactive virus protection, you may want to think about the changes you can make to your environment. The saying “a tidy house, a tidy mind” is true for many of us, and cleanliness problems during the pandemic can also trigger for people with OCD. Try to invest the time to ensure that your home environment is tidy, warm, inviting and comfortable. The process of cleaning and debugging can be therapeutic and the end result should be a sense of achievement. Try to keep your home up to date so that the tasks don’t pile up, are no longer manageable and cause more stress.

Prioritize self-care

Self-care is often added to our priority list when we need it most. Think of the smaller, more superficial aspects, and the larger, more meaningful elements of self-care. They all add up when you show yourself that you are important and that you are worth it. Make sure your basic needs are met and let yourself be pampered a little. Nourish your body with good food, take some time, do the things you enjoy, moisturize, take care of your dental hygiene, let yourself be pampered. Say “no” and be self-confident if necessary, stand up for yourself, ask for help and kick this critical inner voice to the side of the road.

Find consolation in nature

The beautiful nature can refresh, calm, rejuvenate and energize, with a number of benefits for our mental health. This may not be so easy during the pandemic. Therefore, only go outside if you can, and it is safe, preferably if you have a garden where you can enjoy the fresh air. Slow it down and enjoy the flowers, grass, birds and insects. Connect to the natural environment and let yourself be grounded when you realize that you are part of something bigger. Spending time with a pet can also be uplifting, relieve a little tension, and increase our sense of connectedness.

The impact of insecurity, fear and stress on mental health in the world as a whole should not be underestimated. Try to take steps to relieve stress, reach yourself, and give yourself time to breathe.

Caz blogs at InvisiblyMe (www.invisiblyme.com)

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