How to Manage Stress While Stressed!

Stress and anxiety are likely a part of your new normal during this pandemic, and it makes sense. Any way you look at it, this is a stressful time. People are losing their jobs, people can’t see their friends/loved ones, food shortages in grocery stores, where there are rising prices and the list goes on. My suggestion isn’t to try and avoid stress (it’s impossible) AND it’s important for us to remember that we get to decide how we RESPOND to the stress/anxiety during this pandemic. Here are some helpful tips that might help you trim the fat of the stress we are all experiencing.

  1. Focus on what you can control vs. what you can’t

Let’s get back to the basics.

  • Get good rest – at least 8 hours!
  • Avoid phones/screens and try to avoid looking at the news at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light/light technology tricks your brain into thinking it is still daytime so it doesn’t power down as easily.
    • Alternatives: grab a good book, journal, word search/puzzle, start a guided meditation audio clip (then put your phone down and ease into sleep)
  • Eat nutritious foods
    • When possible, try to avoid over processed foods/fast foods. What you put into your body will affect how you feel.
  • Stay hydrated
    • Try using a reusable water bottle and set a goal for yourself each day. Keep track of how much you drink each day to see if you can surpass that amount the next day.
  • Move your body
    • Go for a walk, go for a hike, use a bicycle, go to the park and stretch/lift weights. If you are around other people, please make sure to practice social distancing.
    • If going outside is not your thing, then do at home workouts from the comfort of your home
    • Popsugar Fitness and YouTube have FREE workouts
  •  Wash your hands thoroughly and often (pick a song you like to sing for 20 seconds – make it fun!)

 

  1. Be kind to yourself/others
  • We are good at being our own worst critics. Our brains are naturally hard wired to look/seek out mistakes. It is what helps us survive, however, we need to make sure we keep our eye on that tipping point.
  • Try to slow down when possible to find some appreciation for the simple things
    • Example: your morning coffee, a corner of your house that is organized or clean
  • Try identifying a simple/positive mantra to say to yourself in the mornings/throughout the day or when you feel stressed/anxious
    • Example: “This too shall pass.” “I am doing the best that I can with what I have.” “Today, I will give myself a wider margin of error.” “Today I am going to do what I can to try and go with the flow.”

 

  1. Limit your media exposure
  • It’s important to remain informed, and try to limit how much news/media you are exposing yourself to each day.
  • A substantial amount of misinformation is being circulated, especially on social media platforms
  • Make sure you are getting your information from reputable resources
  • Set some guidelines for how much media you read and watch. Giving yourself a time limit each day for how long you can spend on news outlets is a helpful way to stay on top of it.
  • Search for positive news
    • Example: people singing together on their balconies
    • People helping others

 

Diana Cortina, LMFT is a Therapist and Clinical Supervisor at CHRIS Counseling Center-Atlanta. To learn more about our counseling services, available for the whole family, email Counseling.Center@CHRIS180.org

Diana Cortina, LMFT
dcortina@CHRIS180.org
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