Monday, December 14, 2020

Dealing with Stress: Practical Tips to Help You Get Through the Pandemic #Healthy2020 #COVIDstress #pandemiccopingskills

The ongoing COVID pandemic has been very stressful for us this year! Juggling to successfully perform multiple functions -- including working from home, remote learning, and being quarantined at home for weeks on end -- can really ramp up our stress. As part of my ongoing #Healthy2020 series, The Weekend correspondent is sharing some excellent tips and techniques to help keep your stress in check. This article may contain affiliate links.

2020 has been an exceptionally difficult and stressful year for many people. We're dealing with a pandemic that has touched almost every corner of the globe, literally closing down whole countries for weeks -- if not months -- on end. People are working from home on a scale like never before; schools have closed in lieu of remote, at-home learning; and economies have been negatively impacted. You'd be easily forgiven for finding it all a little stressful -- with things feeling too difficult and too much to deal with at times. In fact, it would be very unusual if you didn't find this pandemic hard to deal with at times! The good news is this: there's light at the end of the tunnel thanks to recent news of successful vaccines. Not only that, there are practical steps you can take to help you get through the stress and challenges stemming from a global pandemic.

Image via Unsplash CC0

Make Sure You're Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep deprivation can cause a great deal of anxiety and stress in your life. It can also lead to a downward spiral, because stress can disturb your sleep schedule. Instead of depending on over-the-counter medicines to enjoy a good night's rest, you can try to calm your body and mind before you go to sleep naturally. For example, avoid caffeine or alcohol before bed, since they can interrupt your sleep patterns. If you feel like you may be relying a little too much on alcohol to help you to unwind, click here for advice on cutting down or stopping alcohol consumption. You should also stay away from electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime so your brain can wind down. Other relaxation tips include taking a warm bath or reading a book to calm your body before you go to sleep. Further, plan to go to bed around the same time every night to establish a consistent sleep schedule.

Speak Out About Your Stress

Talking can be a constructive way to take away some of the stress you may feel, because doing so helps relieve anxiety while keeping your issues in perspective. Perhaps talk with a friend or family member. However, it might be helpful to address your problems with a qualified mental health professional. such as a counsellor or a therapist. 

Keep a Journal

A stress journal can be a valuable stress management tool, helping you release built-up stress from your body and make you more aware of circumstances or environments that contribute to your stress. Write down the venue, date. and time of each stressful incident -- and see who you were with and what you were doing. Also try to convey how you feel both physically and emotionally during a stressful episode, and then score your stress levels from one to ten. The stress tracker will help you recognize what circumstances cause your stress so you can avoid triggers, circumstances, or people that can cause more damage than good to your life.

Take Control

One of the most effective problem-solving and stress management strategy may be to write down the problem you're actually experiencing. Before evaluating the positive and negative points of each, write down a list of potential solutions. When you have established the pros and cons, you'll be better suited to determine the right option for your needs. 

Manage Your Time Wisely

It's time to accept that you can't possibly do it all at once. You'll also need to lend credence to your tasks to remove unnecessary stresses from your life. Write a list of all jobs you need to complete, from high-priority to low-priority. This is particularly important when you're trying to juggle many tasks -- like working from home while also homeschooling or taking caring for young children. Also consider whether any of these duties can be assigned to others, and assess the degree of urgency for each job. Don't forget to leave a little buffer time between the two roles to allow for unforeseen emergencies, which can alleviate tension at home or at work. Living through a global pandemic is one of the most stressful things many of us have experienced. We're trying to balance a host of tasks while worrying about our mental health, jobs, children, health, and our future -- among other things,

Hopefully some of these practical -- straightforward -- stress management tips will help you manage your stress levels a little more. This will in turn successfully get you through the COVID pandemic in one piece.

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