Tips for Managing Stress in Stressful Times
by Ingrid Parker, LPC, MCAP’s Director of Community Partnerships
Since March of 2020, our world has changed dramatically – and will continue to change. Our hopes, fears, expectations, stressors and anxiety have heightened with the ever-changing information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, we are survivors and we are managing these changes. As we continue to effectively manage the changes resulting from this pandemic, it can be helpful to gain perspective and evaluate how you and your loved ones are handling the stress of COVID-19. If you find that the level of distress of a situation is causing you to become emotionally dysregulated (I.e. experiencing a noticeable change in mood or emotions), remind yourself of the following:
- Everyone is experiencing some level of stress right now. No one is behaving as they would normally. If your child is behaviorally oppositional, attempt to determine if there are underlying reasons and identify motivators or expectations that are age-appropriate which can be put in place. If your significant other is struggling, find a way to effectively communicate with them to determine a resolution and viable options to address challenges.
- Lack of motivation, fear, varying levels of anxiety, sadness, exhaustion, and hyper-vigilance are normal reactions to a stressful situation like this. Encourage people to take breaks and implement self-care. Safely coordinate with friends and family members while maintaining social distance standards. Remember to contact a mental health professional or physician when you or your loved one requires additional support. Most providers are available for appointments via telehealth.
These reminders will assist you and your loved ones as you manage these changes and continue to maintain a sense of normalcy within your life. Effective changes can assist you in coping with the ever-changing environment and help keep those around you, especially children and the elderly, healthy and thriving throughout this challenge. You are not alone and we will get through this.
Additional helpful tips:
- Fact check all information related to COVID-19 with the World Health Organization or the CDC.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, using the bathroom, and before eating or handling food.
- Wear a properly-fitting mask that covers your mouth and nose.
- Follow social distancing guidelines.
- Protect yourself and be supportive of others.
- Schedule enough time to sleep and re-charge your batteries.
- Nourish your body with healthy foods and beverages.
- Engage in some physical activities…and don’t be afraid to try something that is new!
- Stay connected with your friends and loved ones through virtual platforms and social media.
- Realize that it’s understandable to feel anxious and worried, however try not to let this anxiety overtake you.
- Do your best to maintain helpful self-talk and avoid overgeneralizing fears.