Do you find yourself feeling uneasy and dealing with negative emotions during the quarantine? The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affects not only physical health but also mental health. Because of overwhelming news and uncertainty about the future, stress
and anxiety levels might rise in both adults and children. Without good ways to ease stress and anxiety
, your physical health can also be affected.
The stress can change your sleeping or eating patterns and worsen chronic health and mental health problems, and it may also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, but it is important to focus on what you can control and to have healthy coping strategies. Below are ways to ease stress and anxiety
for better peace of mind during this pandemic.
2. Take good care of your body.
Practicing mindful meditation and relaxation techniques can also bring relief.
To make you feel better on the inside, you have to care for your body, too, as it affects the state of your mental health. You can start by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and having a healthy diet.
According to Mental Health Foundation UK, not getting enough sleep can lead to a weakened immune system and mental problems such as anxiety and depression. Make sure to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. If you find it hard to do so, you can download apps that can help you relax. Also, avoid taking large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed time.
Meanwhile, regular exercise also helps in improving your mental health. Breaking a sweat not only keeps your body fit, but it also helps your body release chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins or “feel-good hormones” trigger positive feelings. You can also work out in your home using online guides and apps.
Lastly, a healthy diet can also affect your mood. Experts call this the “food-mood connection.” Studies about the food-mood connection showed that participants who had unhealthy diets were more likely to show symptoms of depression and other mental health issues. Food found to affect emotional well-being have the following vitamins and minerals: Omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, Vitamin D, magnesium, B vitamins, and tryptophan. If you catch yourself resorting to emotional eating to cope, take note of the following tip from experts: try to put off eating for five minutes, and check in with yourself while you wait. Think of what you are feeling, so you’d have a better grasp of what triggers your emotional eating and handle it better next time.
3. Stay connected with other people.
Social isolation can affect your mental health since it can make you feel lonely.
Just because social distancing is needed doesn’t mean you have to distance yourself from people online. Connecting with loved ones is important during this time. Besides messaging applications such as Messenger and Telegram, video conferencing services such as Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom can be used to connect to your distant loved ones and friends.
If you can, don’t let COVID-19 take up most of the conversation; inject humor into your chats to lighten things up. Sharing and laughing at funny videos and memes can lower stress hormones and relieve anxiety. If you miss movie nights with your friends, you can also download Google Chrome’s free Netflix Party extension that lets you watch your favorite shows together.
4. Keep yourself busy or discover new hobbies.
You can use your time to brush up on some old skills or learn a new one.
Because of the quarantine, people have more time to spend on their hobbies and interests. If you have a hobby that you have neglected for a while now, you can use this time to pick it up again. If you already have one, it might be a good idea to improve on it or learn a new technique. Some popular hobbies include baking, knitting, sewing, painting, crafting, and cooking. These hobbies have a visible outcome or finished product, which can be comforting because of the satisfying sense of accomplishment they give off. Just remember to take it easy on yourself if you can’t be productive or creative on some days.
5. Seek support and help others.
There’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help.
It is important to help yourself cope, but it is also important to seek professional help when needed. Fortunately, there are several online mental health consultations you can seek if you need a guide when dealing with overwhelming emotions. Therapy is a good solution because it seeks the root cause of your problems. Therapists can also teach you how to develop productive and healthy habits to replace negative thought patterns. Finding a support group can also benefit you as well.
In addition to these, it has also been found that helping others and understanding other people’s concerns and worries give off positive feelings and reinforces a sense of relatedness. A study from Columbia University showed that when you help someone navigate their own feelings in a stressful situation, you are also enhancing your own emotion regulation skills. Providing comforting words and advice also increases your awareness on what actions you can take in your situation. Another way to help others is to donate to charities, frontliners, and organizations if you have the means.
While there are many things you wouldn’t be able to control in a pandemic, you are still capable of taking care of your physical and mental health. May these tips help keep stress and anxiety at bay!