It’s clear that these are unprecedented times with a lot of uncertainty. With the recent spike in people infected with COVID-19, it seems as if everyone’s stress levels have skyrocketed alongside it. Being in the healthcare industry you are on the frontlines of this battle, which doesn’t make things any less stressful! Although it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious, confused, and upset about the current circumstances, it’s also important to find ways to try and destress. This will help you be able to think and react more clearly and calmly. You should spend time finding your own personal way to ease tension, but look below for some tips.
Familiarize yourself on COVID-19 prevention
Anxiety and stress aside, you should still be informed of the basics regarding COVID-19 and its best prevention methods. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is your best source. Here is the page for their suggested prevention methods. As the CDC says, the best way to avoid getting the virus is by refraining from exposure to the virus. This can be done by socially distancing yourself, washing your hands, and cleaning surfaces in your home daily. If you have to leave the house for any reason, you should try and stand at least six feet apart from others. Comb through the page to see more specifics on COVID-19 prevention.
Ways to handle stress
Take care of yourself physically
Although exercising may be daunting during a global pandemic, it can benefit you tremendously. Not only has exercise been clinically proven to help lower stress levels, but it provides an activity for you to focus on. Even under self-isolation, you can still take a walk outside or on a bike ride (just keep in mind to try and stay six feet away from others). If you don’t feel comfortable outside, there are several options to get a workout indoors. A few suggestions: Blogilates, which offers both short and longer exercise routines, Yoga with Adriene, who takes you through both beginner and more difficult yoga workouts, and Planet Fitness’ free live streams. These are just a few examples of many free workout plans available online. Additionally, if you have in-home work equipment, try and instill some type of daily physical activity in your routine.
Self-isolation is also a perfect time to try out the new recipes you haven’t had the chance to yet. After stocking up at the grocery store, find a meal plan suitable for you, putting healthy, clean meals at the forefront. However, it’s always a good idea to treat yourself every once in a while!
Find activities that you enjoy
Obviously your daily routine is going to look different while under self-isolation. It’s a great idea to make sure you try and do some of the normal activities you enjoy, whether that is reading a book, watching a movie, listening to music, knitting, playing card games, or chatting with friends.
- Movies: Luckily, we live in a digital age that allows us to have thousands of movies at our fingertips. With recent events in mind, there are dozens of streaming guides popping up on what to watch when you’re self-isolating, like Paste’s 30 Best Stand-up Comedy Specials on Netflix. There are guides for nearly every genre and streaming platform, like Thrillist’s Best TV Shows with 100+ Episodes to Stream, UPROXX’s 10 Best Rom Coms on Hulu, and more. There’s even a Netflix Party extension so you can watch something on Netflix simultaneously with others.
- Music: Free music is everywhere – on Spotify, Youtube, Reddit threads, Bandcamp, plus others. Make a calming playlist with music that relaxes you, or a playlist of pop music that you can dance to and take your mind off of things. If you use Spotify, you can even make a collaborative playlist with friends, which will lessen the burden of feeling isolated. Spotify, Apple Music, and plenty of other streaming services typically have already-made playlists that are curated for specific moods.
- Hobbies: Chances are, you will have more down-time for the next few weeks. There are plenty of hobbies you can pick up, such as reading, knitting, scrapbooking, embroidery, sewing, puzzles, and more. We recommend following self-isolation practices and ordering supplies online.
Chat With Family and Friends
Self-isolation doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to loved ones. Chat with family and friends over the phone, or schedule a Facetime session. There’s also Google Hangout, Go To Meetings, and several other online resources to video chat someone. If you want something more tangible, you can also write letters, or send momentos in the mail.
Take a break
It’s extremely important to give yourself a mental break. It might seem pertinent to keep updated on every single news item regarding coronavirus, but taking a break from the internet and TV can be beneficial. Putting aside time to meditate, or do a relaxing activity, or to chat with a friend over the phone can help put you in a more positive headspace.
While you’re busy taking care of everyone else right now, make sure you are taking care of yourself! If you need more resources, check out CDC’s advice on Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19. There are many online resources to help cope with stress during a global pandemic.