Pandemic getting you down? Try these COVID resilience tips
Post-holidays can be a stressful time for employees as projects begin to ramp up in the New Year. But the 2020 holiday season brought on entirely new stresses of its own with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the CDC, stress caused during an outbreak of infectious disease can potentially lead to the following:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on.
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
- Worsening of chronic health problems & mental health conditions.
- Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances.
How to tell if you’re feeling overwhelmed
Adjusting to stay-at-home guidelines has likely tested both your mental and emotional states. Feelings of sadness or even grief during this difficult time is normal, but how do you tell when those feelings become overwhelming, and are slipping into depression? Here are some symptoms to keep an eye on:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Problems sleeping
- Lack of appetite
- Trouble concentrating
- Lack of interest in usual activities
- Low or no energy
- Feelings of worthlessness
Recognizing these symptoms of stress early can go a long way towards helping you curbing them before they get out of hand.
Related: Returning to work amidst COVID-19
5 Tips for staying healthy and dialing back your stress
Luckily, here are a few COVID resilience tips you can use to help you cope with COVID-related stresses and the potential impact they could have on your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Here are just a few that can get you started on having a better day.
- Form a plan to take care of your mental health
As difficult as it may seem at times, remind yourself that this will not last forever. Each day brings us closer to a vaccine and with it, a return to some sense of normalcy. That being said, the winter months could still be rough, thanks to the onset of cold and flu season and the disappointment of not being with family and friends during the holidays. While it might be risky to visit others in person, it’s still recommended to keep in touch via phone or video calls. Make plans for virtual hangouts with other family members outside your home or schedule a Zoom happy hour with friends to help keep your spirits up.
- If you do visit others, take proper precautions
For some folks, extended self-isolation from friends and family is not an option. They might have someone outside their home they are taking care of, or just need to see other people for their own wellbeing. Luckily, we know more about the virus and how it spreads now than when we started. If you are set on traveling and seeing others in the coming months, there are ways to cut down on the risk of catching and spreading the virus. Plan out your trip and take steps to cut down on unnecessary outside contact as much as possible. This means saying no to activities like dining at indoor restaurants and coming into close contact with others outside of your personal quarantine. Wear a mask at all times outside your home — especially if you’re planning on air travel — and make a plan to get tested before and after your trip.
- Find your risk of infection
Living in a COVID world can get anyone with a scratchy throat or slight fever worked up over whether they have the disease or not. Fortunately, there are tools available that help you determine your risk of infection based on location and track statistics on number of cases reported and percentage of people wearing masks. Head to MyCovidRisk.app for more information.
- Pencil in some mental free time
Schedule some time at the start or end of your day for a few minutes of mental free time to help yourself de-stress. Put it on your calendar and make it a part of your daily routine to unplug from screens and clear your head. Experts advise that having scheduled “non-productive” time to yourself is a valuable way to unwind.
- Get in a quick mini-workout
Short bursts of activity throughout your day are a great way to help your brain refocus and relieve stress. Get up from your desk and go for a short walk or do a quick cardio session for five minutes. Lift a heavy object for a couple of reps or do some yoga to help reduce anxiety. If your workspace doesn’t really allow for exercises and going out isn’t an immediate option, you can always try some paced breathing exercises. Breathe in, hold for a few seconds, breathe out, hold for a few seconds; focusing on slowing your heart rate and clearing the mental cobwebs. Check out these COVID resilience tips and visual breathing helps from Daily Burn and Monday Campaigns.
Watch a webinar: Get the Best of Stress
In this 50-minute training, review stress basics plus practical suggestions for coping. Learn how stress hardiness can help you manage your stress in a healthy way. Get tools to help dial down stress.
More healthy COVID resilience tips
Here are a few additional stress-coping tips, straight from the CDC:
- Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
- Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.
View our next post on more ways to combat COVID stress.