Five Ways to Lessen Stress During These Very Stressful Times
Are you on high alert all the time now? Yeah, me too. With so much news and information and worry and, oh yeah, having to work from home while our kids are right next to us “homeschooling,” it’s no wonder we’re all so stressed out. And the scenario I just presented is actually a positive one, because if you’ve lost your job or someone you love is sick, your stress levels are sure to be even higher.
Reducing stress during the coronavirus
Stress isn’t good for anyone, but for someone with type 2 diabetes, it can be particularly detrimental, as it may raise blood glucose levels. If you’ve realized your stress is getting unmanageable, give one (or all) of these a try.
1. Acknowledge that you have very little control over the present situation
If you’re trying to control every aspect of your life right now, you’re asking for additional stress. Here are some things you can actually control: How much news you watch or listen to. What you do to take care of yourself during this stressful time. The measures you take to protect yourself. How often you wash your hands. That’s it. You can’t control when you’ll go back to work. You can’t control whether or not where you live is a hotspot. And trying to hold onto control is guaranteed to bring major stress to your life.
2. Practice self-care
Self-care means different things to different people. For me, self-care looks like making sure I get to take a walk, outside, by myself before my husband goes to work. If I don’t get that, it’s hard for me to be a good mom for the rest of the (very long) day. For you it might look like going to bed early enough to get extra sleep. It might be letting your kids watch more TV than usual so you can get your work done. If it makes you feel good (not just in the moment, but later, too; 4 margaritas probably isn’t going to sit well tomorrow morning), please do it. Please give yourself extra room and grace during this season.
3. Be nice to yourself
No one in modern history has had to do this. There’s no guidebook for how to do it right. It’s possible you’ll yell more or eat more or exercise less. It’s all okay. Practice telling yourself that on the regular, even if it’s just, “I got through today and I don’t have to worry about anything else right now.” Please cut yourself some slack (I’m reminding myself of that as well, as my daughter watches her tablet in the other room while I try to get some work done). Just be nice.
Perhaps this time of solitude is the right time to pick up a new habit? Meditating is great for something we all need right now: A mental break. If you’re meditating, you’re not checking the news, you’re not looking at your Twitter feed, you’re not figuring out how to keep your kids out of the frame when you’re giving a presentation for work. I’d suggest something like the Calm App, which lets you pick from a variety of different meditations and lets you set a timer for as long or short as you like.
5. Get professional help if necessary
Sometimes there’s so much stress and anxiety that nothing seems to tame it, even taking a bubble bath or watching an episode of Tiger King. If you need more guidance, a therapist can help. And, bonus, therapists across the country are using telehealth appointments, so you can stay home in your jammies while you get the stress relief you need.
We’ll get through this. Do your best to relax and cut yourself some slack anyway you can.
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