In a previous blog we considered some of the causes of stress when you’re quarantined or sheltering in place and some of the things you can do to ease that stress.
Things may be loosening up now, but it is not over yet. There is nothing social about covering half of your face and staying a couple of arm-lengths away from just about everyone except those who live under the same roof with you.
Some people have become so tired of such restrictions they have convinced themselves that it is all overblown. Their anger and frustration, held inside for so long, comes out and, though you may have kept your cool, you understand these feelings among others.
Even if things aren’t back to normal, there is still anxiety about what is to come, as well as mourning the loss of that sense of freedom that comes from doing what you want to do, going where you want go and with whom. So you’re thinking you can tough it out for another few weeks— maybe the rest of the summer if you have to. Anyway, things could be worse. It will all be over soon. Right?
Thinking positive is certainly one way to relieve stress, but you can’t help but wonder if you are just fooling yourself as anxiety creeps in again. Sometimes that anxiety never seems to leave.
There are tips about how to keep stress at bay all over the internet, and we’ve provided a few ourselves. You’ve probably heard them all by now, whether it is exercising, eating healthily and setting aside “me time” to listen to music or watching a movie that always makes you laugh. You can meditate and make sure you get enough sleep… Enough already!
Understanding Stress: A Healthy Start
Some mental health professionals are saying that the most stressful factor in these challenging times is the fear of the unknown. The unknown in this case is not COVID-19 itself, as invisible and arbitrary as it is. It’s the stress you can’t see or understand. If you understand it, you just might adopt a positive attitude, which, in itself, should relieve some of the stress.
Researchers are now saying that between 80 and 90 percent of all disease is stress-related. Stress can be anything that may be perceived as a threat, particularly if you are worried about whether you have the coping skills to deal with it. But stress can also be generated by positive challenges and rewarding experiences. The stress you want to avoid or try to neutralize, even nullify, is prolonged and ongoing negative stress.
So even if it may seem like an obvious piece of advice, keep a positive attitude. If you are sheltering with a spouse or significant other, share what you are feeling with them and encourage them to do the same. If you are spending a lot of time alone, try putting your thoughts down in writing. Voice your feelings and record them. Then play the recording and listen to yourself.
You might be surprised how much you’ll learn about yourself from yourself.