At this point, the COVID-19 pandemic is wearing so many of us down that this level of stress has begun to feel like the new normal. Now there’s not only a contagious virus pandemic, but also a mental health pandemic too! With uncertain school schedules, changing job requirements, and persistent germ paranoia, parents need a break perhaps more than ever before. So, here are some tips for parents about how to deal with COVID anxiety and pandemic stress in healthy, positive, and productive ways.
Make Time for Exercise
When many people get stressed out, exercise is the first thing to get sacrificed. However, this is actually counterproductive because exercise helps reduce stress and ease both the body and mind.
Rather than adding to your pandemic stress by going to a crowded gym with high-touch surfaces, consider simply going for more walks around your neighborhood, hiking on a nearby trail, or heading out for a bike ride to get some fresh air. If the weather feels too cold for outdoor exercise during the winter, download a yoga or circuit training app on your phone to do at-home workouts from the comfort of your living room.
Focus on Mental Health and Much as Physical Health
But it’s not just your body that needs attention during times of COVID anxiety because your mental health could probably use a boost as well. If your pandemic stress is mild, you may be able to get control over it yourself by practicing meditation, trying deep breathing exercises, and doing calming activities you enjoy, such as reading a book.
But if your stress is getting too much to handle alone, find someone you trust to talk to about how you are feeling. This could be a partner, friend, or professional therapist. Mental health crisis resources, such as hotlines and support groups, are also available to help you understand your feelings and feel less alone in your mental struggles.
Take a Social Media Break
Social media is a great way to keep in touch with people from our lives, but it is also a source of anxiety for many people who become addicted to scrolling through posts, comparing themselves to friends, and reading anxiety-provoking news reports.
Do your best to limit your social media time to just once or twice a day so that you can keep up with loved ones but not become obsessed or overwhelmed with information overload in an unhealthy way. You may need to cut that time down to just a few times per week or quit social media entirely for a few weeks or longer to get the mental break you really need.
Connect with Others Safely
The pandemic has made many people wary of social interactions and nervous about reconnecting with old friends and meeting new people. However, there are many ways to connect with other people safely and without increasing your pandemic stress. Join online groups with people who share your interests, such as a virtual book club, online mental health support group, or volunteer organization that meets outdoors to benefit the environment. Once the world feels like a safer place again, the virtual connections you make now could turn into in-person friendships and fun social plans in the near future.
SOURCE: Household Staffing International