Life during Covid-19 isn’t easy, that’s for sure. Families everywhere are facing pressures and setbacks that, in many cases, they’ve never experienced before. This includes financial problems resulting from loss of work and business closures. It also includes the personal and familial stress during COVID-19 of isolation resulting from stay-home-schooling and stay-at-home work.
There’s no doubt about it. We’re in uncharted waters. But as the saying goes, when the times get tough, the tough get going. These are the moments in life that define who we are and what we’re made of.
So for this post, we’re going to assess a few different ways you can manage stress during COVID-19 and conflict during this unprecedented time.
Stimulate your body’s own natural feel-good chemicals
You’ve probably heard this a million times if you’ve heard it once, but exercise is one of the best ways to rinse your mind out and get a new perspective on things. Exercising triggers the release of your brain and body’s own natural neurotransmitters, your so-called “feel-good” chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and others.
Covid has certainly complicated gym and fitness center memberships. Still, enterprising owners have found clever workarounds, such as outdoor gyms in San Diego, Phoenix, and other communities lucky enough to have nice weather during the winter that provides great amenities while also observing safe practices.
There’s also always the good, old-fashioned jogging, weather permitting, and yoga, which can be practiced inside your own home. Check out YouTube videos for guided yoga sessions.
Take your communications seriously during this time
Most of us have been cooped up with family, friends, or just ourselves and our pets during this time.
If you live alone, it’s important to take advantage of technology to communicate with the outside world. Imagine if this pandemic had happened 30 years ago, before the Internet, social media, and virtual chat was widely used. You could have used the phone, but there would have been no face-to-face conversations.
If you are quarantining alone – or even if you’re not alone – it’s important to keep track of your friends and family and have face-to-face interactions.
If you have a house full of people, it’s more important than ever to respect peoples’ boundaries and personal space. Healthy communication can help prevent misunderstandings and resentment. Especially with both parents working and kids attending school from home in the same general space, it’s vital that you establish some ground rules and communicate effectively.
Go easy on yourself and others
This one may be the most important and the hardest. The truth is we’re in an unprecedented situation, and it’s sad, anxiety-inducing, and terrifying all at the same time.
As a country, we’ve never experienced a massive economic contraction (arguably a depression but, at the very least, a massive recession) and a deadly global pandemic at the same time. Hundreds of thousands of people are fighting for their lives every day, and hundreds of thousands of other people are fighting to keep their businesses afloat and put food on the table.
The strain on the average person’s mind is off the charts, causing record levels of depression and anxiety. You should expect to experience stress, anxiety, guilt, depression, anger, fear, and various negative emotions during this time. Don’t try to fight them or deny them; these are our natural responses to a massive ongoing tragedy.
Allow yourself to process these emotions without criticizing yourself or feeling bad. And allow others space and freedom to experience these emotions in their own ways without judging or imposing.
Remember the second tip for managing stress during COVID-19? Healthy communication. That factors into this third tip as well. Communicating how you feel to those around you is critically important. Doing so will also free them up to communicate their feelings as well.
By all means, if you feel happy, there’s nothing wrong with that either. Use your positive energy to help others who aren’t feeling as positive. But explore your feelings to make sure you aren’t hiding or sublimating negative emotions.
We will get through this, one way or another. But when we come out on the other side, we will be different people, a different country, and it’s important to acknowledge this basic truth and prepare for change. There’s certainly nothing good about what’s happening if you’re the kind of person who looks for silver linings. Remember this: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
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