Your palms are sweaty, your heartbeat races, and you feel you’re losing some of your memory. You struggle to wake up or like to grab some beer or wine more often than you usually would.
If these situations happen a lot of times lately, then there’s a good chance you’re dealing with pandemic stress. You are not alone. However, stress, especially in this period, can be detrimental:
- It can lower your immunity, making you more prone to disease or infection.T
- The mental and physical changes that stress causes can mimic some of COVID-19’s symptoms.
- It can increase your risk of anxiety and depression.
- You are more likely to suffer from burnout, and that can affect your job and even social relationships.
What are the best ways to manage pandemic stress? Here are three tips:
1. Bring In Some Sunshine
Although Australia’s health guidelines encourage you to practice social distancing, it allows you at least an hour of exercise. Use this opportunity to get out and soak up some sun.
Sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D, which you need these days for two reasons:
- It can strengthen your immunity and lowers the risk of upper respiratory tract infection.
- It activates tryptophan hydroxylase 2, which then assists your body in releasing serotonin. This is both a hormone and neurotransmitter that regulates your mood or emotions.
Although the rules can vary between states and territories, you usually have at least an hour to work out. To enjoy the sun’s benefits, all you need is at least 20 minutes every morning.
Note: What if you cannot go out at all? You can consider taking a vitamin D supplement. Ask your physician the ideal dosage for you. You can also use a light lamp, which mimics sunlight exposure.
2. Get Professional Help
It’s reasonable and valid to feel anxious or sad now, especially if you’re living alone. However, if these feelings start to interfere with your work or you don’t feel better after talking to a friend or family, then perhaps you need to seek professional help.
Australia offers many free numbers you can call to get counseling, but you can benefit more from the services of a private mental health clinic.
A therapist can check your symptoms and ensure your anxiety or depression is not because of other conditions. You can also receive a treatment or management plan that suits your needs. Some clinics can provide video or telephone consultations, so you need not leave your home.
3. Practise Meditation
Meditation can help you cope with the pandemic stress in numerous ways:
- It can lower your stress markers, such as your heart rate and blood pressure.
- It can improve your focus or concentration.
- Meditation can even strengthen your immune system.
- It can promote longer and more restful sleep.
- Meditation can help you stay and appreciate the present.
All you need is at least 10 minutes of meditation daily. You can use apps or listen to guided meditations available on YouTube. Online, you’ll find dozens of free and paid courses and sessions. You can also explore different types, such as loving-kindness, meditation-based stress reduction (MBSR), transcendental, or mindfulness.
Taking care of yourself can be more challenging with the pandemic stress, but you can take it one day at a time. Most of all, remember, you are not alone in this journey. Help is always available.