Reducing Coronavirus Stress
Just a week ago the Indiana Hoosiers beat Nebraska in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Life was “normal.” At that point none of us knew, or probably would have believed, what was about to happen—schools would closed for what seems to be the rest of the year, all sports have been cancelled, the world ran out of toilet paper, the stock market “really, really” crashed, and we were all banned from assembling in groups of 250…no, wait, it’s groups of 50…just kidding, it changed again, to groups of 15 or fewer. Novel coronavirus has shaken our world.
Every day, the CDC, the President, the Governor or the Mayor imposes some new restriction or guideline on us. Life is very uncertain and changing very quickly. New phrases like social distancing and flattening the curve are commonly used every day. And, now it seems like one of the most important things we all need to do is obsessively turn on the news to learn what will happen next. This is no way to live; but today, it is the way we have to live.
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous—check, check, and check. We are all stressed in ways that most of us never imagined. The world as we know it has dramatically changed in less than a week, and there doesn’t seem to be much certainty about what our future holds.
Most of us are stressed beyond what any of us could have imagined. We are stressed because of a virus, and, ironically, stress keeps our bodies from fighting a virus. Stress actually weakens our immune system, so now, more than ever, we have to deal with stress. We need to be strong and healthy for ourselves and for our loved ones.
Ways to Reduce Your Stress
- Only get as much news as you need from reputable sources to know what’s going on. Hearing about the pandemic and the economy repeatedly will only increase your stress.
- Limit social media. You will get too much upsetting information.
- Eat 2 to 3 servings of fruit and 4 or more vegetables a day.
- Get outside in fresh air and walk for at least 30 minutes a day. Remember, three 10-minute bouts are just as good as one 30-minute bout of walking.
- Strength train. Building strong muscles is one of the best things you can do to reduce stress and build your immune system. We are available for you, and we are following all of the COVID-19 CDC Guidelines.
- Get plenty of sleep. Go to bed early and wake up at the same time every day.
- Limit alcohol.
- Meditate. I really like the guided meditations on Headspace.com.
- Play with your kids. Don’t just talk to them. All kids’ sports are currently cancelled, so get outside and play with your kids.
- Call your friends and ask how they are doing. Don’t call to talk about you, call to check on them.
Children are also stressed right now because they hear you talking about this so much and see you watching the news all the time. As a parent, make sure you are calm and confident when talking to your spouse and your kids about COVID-19. You are their best support, and you need to remain strong and confident around them.
Ways to Reduce Stress for Your Children
- Take the time to talk to your kids about what’s going on, and answer their questions with information from the CDC Facts Sheet.
- Reassure your kids that they are safe.
- Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage and social media.
- Play sports outside or games inside with your kids.
- Be a role model by getting plenty of sleep, exercising and eating well.
Hopefully this will help you navigate the uncertain waters ahead of us. We are here for you and we are all in this together. Don’t hesitate to contact us.