Any type of change can cause stress levels to surge. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it rapid changes which can cause stress levels to soar.
People all over the world are faced with much uncertainty as this crisis looms over nations. We face so many questions, concerns, and uncertainties on a daily basis. If we do not effectively manage stress, it could lead to other health concerns.
Stress affects every area of your life, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Listed below are some tips to help you to manage stress during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Prayer Is Key
Let the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do before bed is pray, read the Word of God, and/or worship. Spend time in God’s presence as much as you can right now.
2. Receive Sunlight
Get out and get some sunlight. Just 20 minutes of sun can boost your mood and give you creativity. Besides researchers have published some findings to show that during this COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to take Vitamin D, as a supplement or through sunlight because it helps to boost immunity.
Exercise as a way to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. If you are working from home now, take walks around your house, block, or neighborhood first thing in the morning and during your breaks.
4. Get a Hobby
Find creative ways to reduce stress such as painting, coloring, writing, and/or gardening.
5. Schedule News Consumption
Do not check the news first thing when you get up in the morning. Rather set your tone for your day by spending time with God first. Begin the day with gratitude, mindfulness, praying Psalms, and other spiritual practices that put you in a good place before you start checking the news.
6. Avoid Watching Repetitive News on a Loop
Some people tune to a news channel and just leave it within earshot all day. This can cause stress levels to rise because typically news channels repeat news on a loop. They also bring in different analysts to discuss the same news story from different angles. If it is bad news, it will affect your mood and heart rate.
Hearing the same devastating news over and over can cause stress, depression, and anxiety. It is best to limit how often you hear a particular news story. Listen to the news for a given period of time and then tune off.
This is where online news is better because you typically would read news stories for a while and move on to other things, and then come back to read more new news stories later. No one reads news online on a loop continuously. Too much negativity coming from news reports can cause stress levels to increase.
7. Watch What You Eat
Watch what you are eating. Limit your intake of sugar, white flour, processed foods, and fried foods. Incorporate fresh vegetables and fruits daily into your diet.
Eat healthy and nutritious meals especially at this time. Not only does it help you beat stress, but it also helps boost your immune system.
8. Clean and Organize
Clean and organize your home, and declutter your space. If you work from home or are sheltering in place or are under lockdown, always ensure that your living space or work area is always clean and well organized.
A disorganized space makes your mind disorganized and unsettled. You may not have noticed this but it’s true. Try keeping your space clean, organized, and well arranged for a week and note the difference. In addition, cleaning and organizing are effective ways to reduce anxiety.
Focus on what you are thankful for. Write out or speak out daily at least (5) things that you are thankful for. You could even start writing in a gratitude journal.
10. Watch Your Words
Watch what you are speaking out of your mouth. Choose to speak life and blessings not fear and worry. Your words matter because what you say and think about repeatedly becomes your reality.
11. Watch Your Thoughts
Discipline your mind to think on what is good, lovely and praiseworthy. Take every thought captive that does not line up with God’s Word. Be especially guarded during this time not to let your mind ruminate over and over your worries.
12. Stay Socially Connected
In the midst of social distancing and lockdowns, find ways to stay connected using means such as video chats, phone calls, or perhaps even meeting someone outdoors for a picnic lunch (as long as you follow social distancing protocols).
Implementing these tips can immensely control and reduce your stress levels during this COVID-19 pandemic. You may begin by practicing two or three tips for a start, and add more as time goes on.
About the Author
Stephanie Reck, LMSW, LBT, BCCC, is the founder of Hope Ministry. She can be reached via www.stephaniereck.com or via email [email protected] She is the author of “Disciplining Your Mind 30 Days to a Better You!”