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1. Distance yourself from stressors.
Is there a specific friend or relative whose fear seems more contagious than the coronavirus itself? Do they contact you every time they discover a new conspiracy theory or frightening article online? If so, you may want to distance yourself from them until things get back to normal (or even longer).
Don’t let others spike your stress levels. While everyone preaches social distancing, you’ll need to do some personal distancing during these tough times to keep your anxiety as low as possible.
Taking a break from people you know may be necessary, but the same holds for strangers online. Avoid looking at every comment on social media, as it could spread misinformation and make you feel worse.
By disconnecting both online and offline from stressors, you can reduce all the noise and chaos that’s currently going on.
2. Enjoy the outdoors.
There’s no better time than now to start enjoying nature. According to researchers, surrounding yourself with nature and heading outdoors can decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. Best of all, it’s free and can keep you from spending any money on if your income has taken a hit from COVID-19’s economic impact.
If you live in a crowded city where nature is scarce, try to mimic it to enjoy its relaxing benefits. There are plenty of nature sounds and videos online that you can listen to or watch for free via YouTube.
Before you think this tip is a bunch of feel-good mumbo jumbo, know that research has shown that merely looking at trees or listening to outdoor sounds works just like the real thing.
3. Start a journal.
If you lost your job or income due to coronavirus closings, a great way to combat any fear, stress, or frustration is to write everything down.
Taking a pen or pencil and putting your thoughts down on paper is a trick that many researchers tout for improving mental health. By jotting down your feelings, you can better understand them. The more you understand them, the easier they are to manage.
You can use this journaling exercise in the future, too, once the COVID-19 chaos dies down.
4. Breathe deeply.
Have you ever noticed that when you feel angry or stressed, you seem to take shorter, faster breaths? Doing so gives your body less oxygen, and this makes it harder to think and function.
Take long, deep breaths, and you can give your body the oxygen it needs to replenish itself, feel calmer, and think more clearly.
There are several different breathing exercises you can find online to help you cope with stress. A common one is to:
- Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose.
- Exhale with your lips pursed.
- Repeat several times until you feel calmer.
5. Drink water.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t head to the fridge for some alcohol or soda. Instead, grab a glass of water.
Studies have found that water can reduce a person’s anxiety and stress levels. And since your body is made mostly of water, you should do everything you can to prevent dehydration so it can function correctly.