The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the entire world in a state of uncertainty and unpredictability. How are we going to get through this? What comes next? How will the pandemic affect me?
The pandemic might be affecting you in more ways than one. A loved one may have contracted it, or your job might be in jeopardy.
Feeling stressed, anxious and uneasy during this time can be inevitable. That’s why it's even more important than ever to take care of your mental health - especially during lockdown.
If you’re looking for how to be less stressed, here are 5 ways to relieve stress and anxiety during these times. These stress busters will help keep you from being overwhelmed by these feelings.
#1 - Stay in Touch
And we don’t mean physically (1.5m distance everybody!). Lockdown may have you cooped up inside your home, away from your family and friends. However, this doesn’t mean that you should completely disconnect yourself from the rest of the world.
You can stay in touch with your friends in several ways:
Give them a ring
Your first instinct might be to text or message a friend, but calling them instead helps create a more personal connection. Hearing their voice can simulate a face-to-face conversation, and that mere fact might be enough to make you forget about your worries for a while.
The Internet allows you to connect with others and is a great way to spend your time in lockdown. Online apps such as FaceTime, Discord and Zoom have video capabilities, which can help you remember what your friends look like! You can also choose to jump into online forums such as Reddit to connect with those with similar interests as you.
#2 - Channel Your Energy into a New Hobby or Skill
Being stuck in the confines of your own home can lead to your stress and anxiety increasing. Instead of spending your waking hours worrying, why not put your energy into picking up a new hobby or learning a new skill?
Here are a couple of hobbies or skills you might be interested in learning:
- Improving your cooking skills
- Express yourself with online art classes
- Try your hand at learning a new language
- Get your hands moving with knitting needles
- Craft something beautiful or functional with carpentry
- Pick up and start learning the guitar
- Cultivate your own flower patch with gardening
A new hobby can keep your mind off the uncertainty of the pandemic while giving you a handy new skill to add to your repertoire!
#3 - Meditate Your Worries Away
Meditation has been shown to ease feelings of anxiety and is a great way to relieve stress. Lockdown is the perfect time to give meditation a go! Meditation is a calming practice which emphasises mindfulness, patience and peace.
Beginner meditation routines puts the focus on breath concentration. Your mind is solely focused on ‘following’ your breath and minimising wandering thoughts. This helps give you a sense of calm; giving you a break from your worries and stress.
Meditation is easier than you think. Try following these steps for stress relief.
- Find a quiet place to sit, away from external distractions.
- Sit with your back straight, neck relaxed, hands lightly placed on your knees or lap.
- Slowly breath in and out, focusing your mind on each exhale and inhale.
- Repeat for a 5 or 10 minute session.
A basic routine like the one above can be the starting point for more advanced meditation techniques. Either way, meditation routines are great stress busters. You’ll be putting your mind at ease and reducing your stress and anxiety.
#4 - Limit Your Time on Social Media
There’s nothing worse you can do to your stress levels than adding more fuel to the fire. Social media might give you a laugh or something to do, but it is also rife with misinformation and panic-inducing news.
If you haven’t informed yourself with news from reliable sources, you should stay away from social media as it may further your anxiety. The more you expose yourself to myths, rumours and uncertainty, the more crippling your stress may become.
Instead, fight the temptation to be constantly informed and distract yourself with things you find to be relaxing or pleasurable.
#5 - Look After Your Body
While it’s important to take appropriate COVID hygiene measures such as using hand sanitiser, you should also be taking care of the rest of your body. This includes eating well, staying active and getting proper sleep.
It might be tempting to simply order from your favourite fast food chain or eat snacks all day, but it’s important to maintain a healthy diet. Cooking home-cooked meals can be a great way to make sure you’re eating healthy.
Just because you’re in lockdown doesn’t mean you can skimp out on getting regular exercise. Exercise is a great stress-buster. There are a plethora of home workout routines that you can do, no matter what your exercise goals are. The option to go outside for a walk or run is also there (but don’t forget to maintain social distancing rules!).
Getting Proper Sleep
All the time you’ll be spending at home might mean you’re getting plenty of sleep. But too much sleep can be a bad thing. Make sure you maintain good sleep habits such as going to bed at the same time every night and avoiding too many naps!
Looking after your body and keeping it in top condition can produce more dopamine and help stave off the overwhelming feelings of stress and anxiety.
Don’t Let Stress Overwhelm You During Lockdown
Like we said, feeling stressed is a normal thing, especially during this uneasy time. But you can’t let it overwhelm you - too much stress can lead to bigger health concerns.
Put these 5 stress busters into action and you’ll help keep increased stress and anxiety at bay.
If you’re looking for more ways to improve your health during this time, check out our blog where we have useful information for your wellbeing.