The coronavirus outbreak caused drastic changes to daily life in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Routines changed and people are suffering. For many, the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus is the hardest thing to handle. We don’t know how long this will last or how bad things might get. And that makes it all too easy to become stressed and anxious.
The feeling of stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. The feeling of uncertainty, worrying about finding a job, feeling nervous before a big test, or being embarrassed in certain social situations are examples of everyday stress and anxiety.
Here are signs to watch out for and how you can relieve your stress and anxiety.
Causes of Stress and Anxiety
Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain, and anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or unease.
For most people, stress and anxiety come and go. But others with stress- and anxiety-related disorders (such as panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social phobia) experience these stressors on a daily basis and for prolonged periods of time.
Particular life events (such as moving or starting a new job), drugs, and medications can also cause these stressors. Drugs that contain stimulants, regular use of caffeine, and even alcohol can make symptoms worse.
It’s important you know what causes your stress and anxiety so that you can find the right way to relieve it.
Signs to Watch Out For
Everyone experiences stress in different ways and at different times. Here are some signs to watch out for:
- Changes in mood or feelings, including a sense of overwhelm, anxiety, worry, stress, sadness, and depression.
- Changes in physical sensations, including feeling tired, heart racing, nausea, headaches, muscle tension, and difficulty breathing.
- Changed in behaviors, including trouble falling or staying asleep, changes to eating habits, isolation, and trouble concentrating.
How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious from time to time. Here are some strategies you can use to make them more manageable:
- Find ways to exercise
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to relieve stress, anxiety, and manage your mood. While gym and group classes may be closed, you can still cycle, hike, or walk. Or if you’re stuck at home, look online for exercise videos you can follow. Just don’t forget to stay hydrated with a reusable water bottle.
- Watch what you eat
While comfort foods might seem tempting, what we eat affects our mood and energy levels. For instance, high quantities of caffeine can increase stress and anxiety. So, if you notice that it makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back. Do your best to eat healthy by incorporating whole grains, lean proteins, and plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Get enough sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep can significantly reduce stress levels. So, make an effort to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness can help fight anxiety from negative thinking and lower symptoms of depression. Rather than worrying about the future or thinking about the past, focusing our attention on the present moment through mindfulness stops worry and anxiety. There are several methods for increasing mindfulness, including yoga, meditation, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
- Spend time with friends and family
Having strong social ties can help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety. While it’s harder to get together with your friends and family right now, you can always make time to send them a text or talk with them on the phone.
As we continue to adapt to the pandemic, finding ways to cope with stress and anxiety is so important. Whether it’s from your workplace or personal life, exercise, mindfulness, and spending time with others can all work to relieve these stressors and improve your overall work-life balance.