5 Ways to Minimize Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has stirred mental health concerns alongside the public health crisis. The sudden regulations of quarantine created stress for youth and adults alike. Social isolation has brought out deep feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety in many. The specific effects of this pandemic on teen mental health were discussed in a previous post. The purpose of this particular post is to provide 5 useful tips to help mitigate the stress we all feel during these unprecedented times.
These 5 additions to your routine can minimize the stress of this pandemic. Hang in there, stay safe, and stay happy!
1. Create a schedule
Quarantine is stressful because there are so many hours in a day that would have been filled by going places and travel time. Now that we’re staying home, there seems to be extra hours in the day, and this can bring about more stress if we aren’t constructive with it. A great way to stay on top of this is to create daily schedule. This schedule will be a guide for your day and allow you to plan out breaks and fun activities. Creating schedules for your kids is also a great way for them to have that same routine they did in school.
2. Bake / Cook
Something about the smell of freshly baked cookies can really get you out of a rut. I have never loved baking or cooking, but since this pandemic began, I have been experimenting with these new skills. There are millions of free recipes online, just simply Google your cravings, and odds are they’ll show up. Try something new, and go out of your comfort zone. Being hands-on and exercising your creativity does wonders to clear your mind of other stressors and positively realign your emotions.
3. Do Yoga / Stretch / Meditate
Quick beginner yoga classes and guided stretching on YouTube can relieve all the stress you hold in your tight muscles and ligaments. In addition to the stretching, strength, and stability, yoga also provides mindfulness practice. It takes times to develop skills in meditation, but guided yoga is a good place to start to get your body involved in relaxing your mind. It teaches you ways to accept the thoughts that make you anxious and not ignore them but work to recognize them, label them, and move forward. Even if yoga doesn’t sound like a thing for you, pausing for a moment to breathe deeply and live in the present is enough to make a difference in your mood and health.
4. Go outside and exercise
For many of us, quarantine kept us fully inside, and we never left our house. The sun is important for Vitamin D synthesis, regulation of our circadian clock, and improving mood. It is important to take time to go outside (socially distanced, of course), breathe in the fresh air, and feel the warmth of the sun. The importance of nature in your mental health is often overlooked. Quarantine can feel like you’re stuck in a cave forever with no escape. Having that time to escape is crucial for your sanity and general well-being.
5. Video Calls with Loved Ones
It only took a global pandemic for us to realize how easy it is to contact people we care about. Everyone is one click away, and checking in on loved ones is more important now than ever. These “loved ones” don’t necessarily need to be family members but maybe a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while. With the holidays coming up and the recommendations to avoid traveling to large family gatherings, virtual connection will be essential for that feeling of togetherness.
Contributors: Natasha Valas, Ali Ross
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any organization with which I am affiliated.