Dealing with Stress and a “New Normal”
With so much that has happened all at once, many of us are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and scared. It’s completely understandable to be feeling this way — and you are certainly not alone.
As we’re taking steps to protect our physical health, we must also care for our mental and emotional health. Everyone deals with stress and change differently, so be patient with yourself as you try new ways to help manage difficult emotions. Here are a few things that you can try to care for your mental and emotional health:
- Take a break from the media. It’s hard to clear your mind if you’re constantly hearing news about COVID-19. Step away from the news for a while, and limit how often you check trusted media outlets.
- Do something you enjoy. Read the book you’ve been meaning to start, color a page in a coloring book, do a puzzle, or pamper yourself with a home spa day. Give yourself something positive to look forward to each day.
- Laugh! Watch a funny video clip, tell a friend or family member a joke, or play with your pet. Do something that puts a smile on your face.
- Get some fresh air. Go outside, take a walk, or go for a bike ride, just be sure you’re observing social distancing guidelines. Enjoying nature is a great way to reduce stress.
- Stay connected with friends and family. Social distancing shouldn’t mean social isolation. Reach out to a friend, a family member, a neighbor, or someone you know to check up on them and catch up. Even if we can’t be physically together, we can all be resources for each other.
- Pay attention to your body, and be sure that you’re treating it well. Stretch, exercise, get enough sleep and water. Enjoy a nutritious meal. Meditate. These things can not only help relieve stress in your mind, but also help you feel better physically.
- If you were working with a mental health professional before the pandemic, continue that work. Reach out to your mental health provider to learn if you can continue working together by phone or video chat. Don’t let yourself lose the progress you were making.
- Finally, if you are unable to go about your daily life because of the stress or anxiety that you’re feeling, consult with your healthcare provider or mental health professional. If you feel you are in danger of harming yourself or others, call 911.
As you’re establishing your routines in this “new normal,” make sure that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. We’ll all get through this together.
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