Pandemic Stress Solutions
For the past 20 months, we have been hearing about the negative impact on our physical and mental well-being that the pandemic has had.
I know for me, it certainly has. Each time I find myself in a situation that is now considered crowded (not sure I would have called it crowded in January 2020), I feel my heart jump a little bit. The last time I was on an airplane, I put two masks on. I wash my hands so often my skin is permanently dry, and leaving the house without a bottle of sanitizer feels like I’ve left the house without pants.
I’m not too fond of it. Like many of you, I want life to return to what it was before the pandemic. The removal of all restrictions will not do that for me. I will be forever cautious of crowded public spaces, even if everyone on earth gets vaccinated (which we know will not happen.)
[ctt template=”3″ link=”9ir7S” via=”yes” ]I have no intention of living my life filled with Pandemic Stress.[/ctt]
I have no intention of living my life filled with Pandemic Stress. I will figure out a way to take care of myself so that I don’t live in fear or panic and my body is not living with chronic stress.
Here is what I am doing to ensure that my body is healthy. I need to take care of myself, and I know that needs to be a priority. The good news is that I have been very conscious about this and have seen the positive impact it is having on me.
– Watch what goes in your body. I mean that from all aspects. Eat healthy food. Drink plenty of water. Limit sugar. We know we should do that, but are we really paying attention to what we put in our bodies? I understand that a healthy body avoids alcohol, yet you know that I love my wine. But I don’t overdo it. I don’t drink every day, and I certainly don’t drink to excess. The holidays are coming up, and I have no intention of overdoing the treats as I know that sugar will bring me down. My body is the foundation for me to handle the stress I am feeling. If I don’t treat it right, how can I expect it to treat me right?
Also, watch what goes in your body for entertainment. Do you watch a lot of the news? Do you obsess over the infection rates, or do you hear about the constant traffic, cost of gas, or unaffordable housing? Negative in creates negative out. I do watch the news, but not all day and not every day. I pay attention to the supply chain issues as it affects me, but I’m not obsessively scouring the internet looking for everything I can get my hands on about it. What are you reading? Who are you listening to on podcasts and in your social circle? Are those things healthy for you to limit your stress?
– Limit solitude. I am an extrovert. I need to be with people to keep my energy high. Others give me energy. However, not everyone is the same way, and many of you identify with being an introvert where others deplete your energy. Either way, too much alone time isn’t good for anyone. Solitary confinement is a punishment for a reason.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”rZf7M” via=”yes” ]Solitary confinement is a punishment for a reason. Limit your solitude.[/ctt]
Living alone can be a challenge, especially if you are working from home. Jumping on Zoom/Teams calls does help make you feel like you are with others (although many will argue it is not the same thing). Turn cameras on to see others and feel like you are with them (and they can feel they are with you.) If you don’t have many meetings during the day, can you get outside after work and go for a walk? Yes, I know it is cold now, but bundle up and get outside. You don’t need to be with anyone, but if you see someone on the street, be sure to say hello or give them a sincere smile.
Solitude can be dangerous. We are humans who need humans (albeit in different amounts). Be sure that you can see and speak to others regularly. Pick up the phone and call others. Connect on social media if you are there. Be sure that the only voice you hear isn’t just yours.
– Positive endorphins are important to have in our life every single day. Do something that you enjoy doing. Maybe you enjoy a bath, dancing, gardening, exercising, cross-stitch, reading a good suspense novel, or watching a mindless television show. If you had a day alone with no commitments or responsibilities, what would you do for that day?
Find time to do things that you enjoy to feel relaxed and know that you are taking care of your needs. Don’t worry if others don’t find your preferred activity relaxing, as long as you do.
– Be aware. I am aware that I feel differently in crowds than I did before. I permit myself to feel it, but I acknowledge it. I don’t try to push it out of my mind.
I am allowing myself time to adjust to this new world we live in. As long as I’m not avoiding dealing with this new reality and pretending it doesn’t exist, my mind will slowly adapt. I need to be aware when I feel panic and when I’ve avoided situations and feel a loss of control. Being aware is important.
I have no idea when or if Pandemic Stress will ever be gone from our lives. I do know that I refuse to be a casualty of the virus or the stress it brings, so I plan each day to pay attention to what I’m putting in my body, avoiding solitude, I am sure to give me positive endorphins each day doing something I love, and be honest and aware with how I am feeling any given moment.
While it may not work 100% of the time, it is certainly working most of the time and that helps me.