How to deal with stress and take care of your mental health during COVID-19With the pandemic continuing to drag on, the strain can take a toll on your mental health. You may feel disconnected from others, fearful about the health of your loved ones, or stressed out and anxious about the “new normal.” This article offers a host of simple tips and advice to help you deal with it all.
COVID-19-RELATED STRESS AND ANXIETY
While they are often lumped together, stress and anxiety are actually two different states. Stress is the natural reaction of the entire body to a situation it perceives as new, unpredictable, or threatening. Stress can be a good thing in certain situations, as it can make you more focused and motivated, but too much of it can be bad for your health.
Anxiety is a state of mind where the person feels so much stress that they anticipate the worst possible outcome for events that have not happened yet or that may not even happen at all.
With all the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 (the arrival of new variants, sudden new developments, the possibility of getting sick, job instability, etc.), it is normal to feel somewhat overwhelmed.
Signs of stress or anxiety
- Uncontrollable fear that you or a loved one might get sick
- Changes in dietary habits (eating more or less than usual)
- Changes in sleep habits (difficulty falling asleep, operating on a different schedule)
- Changes in alcohol and drugs consumption (more than usual)
- Difficulty concentrating
TIPS FOR REDUCING YOUR STRESS AND ANXIETY
It is possible to manage your stress and anxiety at home. Here’s what you can do to reduce your stress and anxiety related to COVID-19:
Limit your digital consumption
The digital space is filled with news about COVID-19 that’s often more worrisome than positive. This constant exposure can take a toll on your mental health. Try to limit your digital consumption to positive and engaging content that makes you feel good. Avoid reading and sharing information about COVID-19 from unreliable sources—this kind of misinformation can do more harm than good.
Take care of your body
Even though it can be tempting to snack more frequently when you’re at home, try to eat well. You need a healthy body and plenty of energy to stay mentally strong and tackle your day-to-day challenges.
It is also important to stay physically active, as exercise is a natural antidepressant. If you prefer to work out at home or if you’re not sure how to exercise properly, don’t despair! There are plenty of home workout videos available online that can teach you routines that will make you break a sweat.
If you work from home, make sure your workspace is well-lit and comfortable. Make sure, too, that your chair is properly adjusted and provides good back support for the long hours you spend in front of your screen. Take regular breaks and do stretches.
Taking care of your body also means keeping a regular sleep schedule and getting enough sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and limit your screen time before bedtime.
Take breaks and stick to a routine
At home, take regular breaks from your work, if possible. Take the opportunity to go for a walk or practice meditation. There are meditation videos available online to help teach you the benefits of deep breathing when you’re stressed out.
Know when to seek help
There are ways to cope with anxiety and stress. However, if your distress persists or worsens, it might be time to consider seeking professional help, as it could be a sign your mental health is deteriorating. There are resources online to help you. It is now possible to consult a doctor or psychologist via teleconference. There are also help lines ready to take your call. They can provide valuable support during these difficult times.
YOUR PHARMACIST IS THERE FOR YOUYour pharmacist is available to answer your questions about your health or medications. They can also direct you to any specific resources you need. Be sure to ask!
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.