It’s no secret that the last 18 months have been a tremendously stressful time. The worldwide pandemic facilitated by the novel coronavirus has had a direct impact on virtually every human being on the planet. From compromised income to serious illness to weaponized misinformation, this dark period has seen no shortage of stressors. During times like these, we need to be extra vigilant about keeping our stress in check, as failure to do so can lead to a variety of health issues. Anyone looking for effective ways to relieve pandemic-related stress should take the following pointers to heart.
Contribute to Public Health
In most of our lifetimes, there has never been a time in which public health has been more important. With this in mind, make a point of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 posthaste – unless, of course, you suffer from a medical condition that makes vaccination unsafe. This will give you peace of mind and help curb the spread of the virus and its assorted variants. Furthermore, make a point of continuing to wear a mask in public, regardless of whether your state or the businesses you patronize have masking rules in place. You should also consider taking part in charitable causes, like blood donation events and health care fundraisers.
Speak to a Therapist
Therapy can prove beneficial to virtually anyone. Whether you have pronounced mental health issues or appear to be perfectly healthy, a good therapist can help you manage stress, work through past trauma and improve your relationships with others. Fortunately, many therapists and counseling centers are providing patients with remote sessions, thereby eliminating unnecessary risks. Additionally, some businesses specialize exclusively in remote therapy. So, if fear of COVID-19 exposure has prevented you from seeking mental health care, you needn’t worry any longer.
Make Time for Self-Care Every Day
When it comes to priorities, many of us place our mental health dead last. Between work, family obligations and assorted responsibilities, finding time to devote to self-care is liable to seem like an uphill battle. However, self-care should always be regarded with importance, so if your current schedule doesn’t allow time for it, take care to make some. For example, if you have small children, consider asking your partner to watch them for an hour each day. You can even return the favor by doing the same for them, thus ensuring that they’re also able to enjoy some quality “me time” on a consistent basis.
You can even make self-care a pre-bedtime routine. About an hour before you hit the hay, shut off your screens and engage in such relaxing activities as reading, journaling, meditation and deep breathing exercises. Alternatively, if you’re an early riser, consider getting up an hour before you usually would and devoting that time exclusively to personal hobbies, interests and relaxation.
Take Advantage of Remote Work Options
Remote work has become an increasingly popular practice throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Even businesses that used to disparage the very idea of working from home came to embrace telecommuting over the last 18 months. As it turns out, a sizable percentage of desk jobs can be done from the comfort and safety of one’s home. So, if your employer is offering team members the option of working remotely, you’d do well to take them up on it.
On the flipside, if your employer is now calling people back to the office, having reservations is perfectly understandable – especially if your place of business isn’t requiring employees to get vaccinated. If you’re understandably uncomfortable with the idea of working alongside unmasked and/or unvaxxed people, make your concerns known to the necessary parties and express a desire to continue working remotely.
To call this pandemic a time of great stress would be an understatement. Throughout the last 18 months, many of us have seen ourselves pushed to the breaking point mental health-wise. While there’s no question that COVID-19 has been hard on everyone, this doesn’t mean that we should simply resign ourselves to unmanageable stress levels. Although pandemic-related stress is abundant, there are a number of simple steps we can take towards long-term relief. So, if you’re eager to get your stress levels back in check, put the tips discussed above to good use.