With the vaccines becoming more readily available and the COVID measures easing up in some regions of the world, you might think that the pandemic and all the pandemic-related stress are behind us.
Sadly, that is not the case. According to WHO, many people have experienced previously unmatched levels of anxiety, fear, and stress. No one knows for sure what are the long-term consequences the pandemic will have on mental health even once it is over.
Besides, even if you choose to be optimistic, the pandemic is not over yet, and the looming feelings of fear and uncertainty are still very much present.
Here are some tips on how to deal with stress during a pandemic.
Get help from the professionals
Stress is a strange thing. Even if you think you are doing just fine, it might be lurking in the back of your mind, piling up and waiting to bring you down when you least expect it.
That is why you should find a good therapist to help you cope with your negative feelings.
You need to understand that there is such thing as toxic positivity and that sometimes forcing yourself to remain optimistic and positive can cause you more harm than good.
It is OK to feel anxious, sad or overwhelmed. The times are strange, and no one knows what they are doing.
The sooner you acknowledge these feelings, the sooner you will be able to face them. Once you encounter them, you will be able to deal with those emotions and sort through them, turning them into something manageable.
A good therapist can help you do exactly that.
Rely on your friends and family
When the pandemic started, we were all confident that the whole thing would be done in a couple of weeks. Yet, during that initial period, we were all much closer together than we have ever been.
In the beginning, we were all facetiming our relatives, drinking coffee with our friends over Skype or Zoom, and, overall, helping each other along. As the pandemic progressed, many of us became less optimistic and more self-centred, and we’ve let those routines die away.
Make an effort to re-establish those connections with your friend and family. Sure, these days, the sound of a Zoom notification might be enough to stress you out, but seek out alternative ways to reach out to your loved ones.
An old saying claims that misery loves company, and there is some truth to it. Just remember to share the love along with your worries. Show others that you are there for them and that you care about them and their wellbeing, and they will do the same for you.
Don’t neglect your finances
Sadly, just because your world has changed and stands still, that doesn’t mean that the financial institutions have done the same. You still have to take care of your finances.
This can be especially tough if the pandemic has severely struck your work area or if you have lost your job.
Even so, you can find ways to lower your tax bill. Besides that, you should create a budget and stick to it. When making a budget, remember that it should work in your favour, not against you. Set some money aside for the things you like and things you need. It’s all about the small luxuries that keep you sane.
Try a few money-saving tricks, such as putting to sayings the exact amount you spend for a week. You will be amazed at how easy it is to do and how much difference it makes in the end.
Take care of your health
When you are on your own, it is easy to give in to unhealthy habits and neglect your physical wellbeing. This is bad since mental and physical health is closely related.
You don’t have to become health-obsessed to maintain your general wellbeing.
Just try to exercise regularly, or, if you cannot, simply go for a walk. A change of scenery will do you good.
Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and to get enough sleep. Remember, eating healthy means avoiding excess amounts of alcohol, so do your best to reduce excessive drinking, tobacco, and substance use.
Limit your screen time
During stressful times, you want to stay informed about what is happening in the world and your surroundings. But, here is the issue – awful news tends to stick in our minds and make a longer-lasting impression than the good ones. Pair that up with a global pandemic, and you have a recipe for disaster.
To keep your mental health in check, you should limit your news intake. Select one source that you trust, and check it once or twice a day.
If you can, limit your exposure to social media. Social media is full of unchecked info, fearmongering, and conspiracy theories, and you do not need such things in your life.
Also, keep in mind that everyone posts only good stuff on social media. No one posts on Instagram a photo where they are staring at the TV screen while eating ice cream, so take the positive posts with a grain of salt, as well.
Remember that this, too, will pass
With so much bad news and events happening worldwide, it is easy to become desperate and feel as if the pandemic has no end in sight.
Do not give in to this line of thinking. Eventually, this will all be over. You will go on that vacation. You are going to see the people you love and hug and kiss them again.
Make plans for what you are going to do when the pandemic is over. Plan trips and routes. Even if those plans do not come true, imagination can help you cope with the bleak everyday life.
Remember, you are stronger than you think. There are mental health professionals that are able and willing to help you. Turn to your friends and family for support, and take good care of yourself.
Just hang in there. You will make it out of this pandemic just fine.
Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work on PlainHelp.