“Interestingly, it is not the fear of the Covid-19 virus itself, but the new normal that people have unknowingly adopted in order to break the chain of viral spread,” said Dr Chawla.
Uncertainty has been one of the root causes of stress at all levels. Students and homemakers were not left behind. Getting back to the school/college also burdened students and parents with anxiety and fear of catching the virus.
It is important to understand the coping mechanisms of dealing with stress and managing it efficiently if one can’t do away with it.
I. Dealing with the feelings
Acknowledge how you feel
It’s important that you are honest with your feelings. Journaling might be one of the best ways to record your innermost thoughts and feelings.
As you write your thoughts, label anything that alarms you with negativity. Talk to your most trusted friend or confide in a counsellor. Be gentle with yourself. Do not judge yourself.
Acceptance of uncertainty
Although we all love to have control over every situation in our lives, it’s not always the case. The pandemic for that matter was out of bounds.
Nobody knew that it would leave no room for one to plan things ahead of time. Uncertainties are a part of life.
Preparing oneself to have a placid mind through the ebbs and tides no matter how things turn out is the key. Remember, it is okay to not have control over the situation.
II. Ways to remain calm
Get physical activity
Sedentary lifestyle can be the worst bane. Being a couch potato leads to stress that aggravates or leads to other health issues such as cardiovascular disease, immune system suppression, diabetes, obesity, sleep issues, headaches, neck and back pain, and depression or anxiety issues among others, according to ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal.
Some recommended physical activities include jogging, skipping, dancing, sport, use stairs, play with kids/ pets. Getting physical activity or exercise helps release dopamine and serotonin that alleviate stress, suggest various sources including Exercise and Sport Sciences Review.
Besides, it can boost the cardiovascular, digestive, and immune systems.
Be on a balanced diet. Reduce junk or fried foods. Include citrus fruits in your diet.
According to the book titled ‘Post-harvest Biology and Technology of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits’, due to their high content of Vitamin C, citrus fruits offer multifarious benefits from boosting immunity to building collagen and reducing anaemia and stress.
Six to seven hours of sound sleep is very important to get over stress. But ironically there is a link between sleep and stress. It is hard to get quality sleep when stressed out.
And sleep deprivation can lead to cardiovascular diseases, other co-morbidities, memory loss, lack of focus, and even safety concerns while driving.
Exercising optimally and eating on time will surely help in stress release which in turn will help in getting the right amount of sleep.
Basking under the sun for at least 20 minutes every day will not only give you your natural Vitamin D, but also help ward off stress and depression. Did you know that sunlight increases your serotonin and keeps Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) at bay?
According to a study by researchers at Brigham Young University, ‘increased mental health distress was found during periods of reduced sun time hours’.
With the lockdowns and infrequent socialising that ensued with it, many have felt cut off from their herd.
But one can still be part of online communities and communicate with friends and folks through video calls or join online forums on their area of interest – be it a book club or a hobby.
Spend quality time with family. Read, watch animation films, cook, declutter (did you know decluttering is a great stress-buster?), and play with children or pets.
Get some me-time
Meditate. The little me-time gives you the window for introspection and connecting with your inner-self. Yoga and deep breathing work just as well with multiple health benefits. Keep your senses away from indulgences.
Watching too much TV or mobile phone is one form of indulgence to the eyes! Journal to reflect upon how you are feeling better day by day.
Limit digital activity
Limit exposure to news and updates. Use social media moderately. Rein your thoughts and keep your rationale before you can go too deep in your thoughts.
Go creative and use expressive arts. The pandemic has undoubtedly set loose the side-effects in the form of stress globally, but the cure is very much within our means. With the above tips, you would know it’s never too hard to get over stress.