Managing the Stress and Anxiety of COVID-19

Updated: Mar 31

The importance of stress management continues to grow as the COVID-19 situation changes and grows. About ⅓ of the United States is under shelter in place, and routines have been turned on their heads. Finding a new normal can pose major challenges and stress is likely mounting.

Stress causes inflammation in the body and inherently affects the immune system. Managing stress plays a vital role in your health during this challenging time. Here is how you can use this time to be impactful, productive, and almost stress free.


You Deserve Spring Break, and Grace

With schools closed and kids at home, pressure to home school your children has mounted. Take it easy on yourself, it is not easy to manage a household, home school your children and take care of working remotely. This is the time of year for spring break, and since travel is limited and most places are closed, you have time for rest, and the kids also deserve a break. When it is time to facilitate learning, be sure you use all of your resources. Call a teacher friend, and check in to see what resources the schools are offering.


When in doubt, focus on basics. Read daily. Focus on basic math facts and fluency with them. If you have students who are old enough, assign a research paper on a topic of their choice. With so much news floating around, this is a great time to teach older students about the importance of fact checking. You can also play games that require critical thinking. Have the kids double a recipe, or cut it in half, and have older siblings help their younger siblings whenever possible.


Eat Well

There is constant emphasis on the importance of a healthy diet. There is no better time than now to clean up your diet. Although the circumstances are unfortunate, now there is time for you to create new eating habits. Clean out your pantry, choose a few healthy recipes, and give them a shot. Eating at home is oftentimes a healthier alternative to eating out. Sharpen your knives and your kitchen skills, practice makes perfect and you never know, you might find healthy recipes you love.


Breathe

Your breath has the power to change the way you feel. Take ten minutes each day to sit with your breath. Just ten minutes of mindful breathing is impactful and can help you keep emotions and stress at bay.


Here are a few breathing practices that can help you to calm down, and strengthen your central nervous system.


Pure breath 4 count inhale, 4 count hold, 4 count exhale.


Meditative breath Inhale into your chest, then your belly, pause. Exhale, pause.

The internet has a wealth of breathing practices. If you are looking to deepen your breath to body connection do some research and find some mindful practices that work well for you.


Technology Free Time

Clean up your information diet. All social and news outlets are being inundated with news about COVID-19. Choose two sources to follow, give yourself a time limit and step away from the news. Be discerning about which news sources you are consuming. As public hysteria climbs, fear mongering headlines increase, avoid news sources who are using and abusing this tactic.


Take some time away from technology. Read a book. Fiction can help your imagination work, and you can use your book as a way to go on an adventure. What about a hobby? If there is a hobby you have been putting off, now there is time to explore your curiosity. Do an art project. Creativity can feel stagnant at a time like this. Grab a canvas and get to work.


Go Outside

Nature is filled with treasures and support. Take a walk and focus on feeling the ground beneath your feet. Focus on finding five things of one color. Maybe it's a bike ride that would better serve you. Just be sure to show yourself to the sun during this isolated time.


No matter what the method is be sure to find ways to effectively manage your stress. Take a look through the blog for other great ways to deal with stress and anxiety.


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© 2020 by Markesha Miller, Ph.D.