Coronavirus Stress: Coping with Anxiety, Fear, and Worry

Do these uncertain times have you feeling more on edge than usual?

If anxiety is keeping you up at night…

If you’re afraid to leave your home...

If you’re feeling helpless in the face of this global pandemic …

You may be experiencing coronavirus stress. 

Coronavirus stress can take a severe toll on your well-being — but only if you allow it. The tips in this article will support you and keep you grounded during these stressful times.

What is Coronavirus Stress?

Believe it or not: stress can be good for you. It’s a biological response that helps you rise to the challenge. 

In demanding situations, your brain releases hormones that increase your heart rate and accelerate blood flow. This quickens your reaction time and sharpens your focus. 

But see, stress symptoms are usually temporary.

These symptoms should subside after the stressor disappears, like after you finish a race or give a speech. 

Yet, coronavirus is the stressor we’re all facing and it hardly feels temporary. You’re in constant fear of you or your loved ones being vulnerable to coronavirus. We’ve been staying at home for three or more months now, and even with businesses slowly reopening, you may still choose to stay isolated due to fear!

Adding to your worries, you may have experienced the following:

*Furlough

*Layoffs

*Unable to find employment

*Scarce inventory at your local supermarket (although I’m finally seeing toilet paper on the shelves again)

*Helping children with home-schooling or online learning

You’re bombarded with stressors left and right — it’s no wonder why you might be feeling anxious and overwhelmed!

How Coronavirus-Related Stress Takes a Toll on Your Body

Coronavirus stress can attack you on all fronts.

You’re physically affected:

*Headaches

*Muscle tension

*Shortness of breath

*Dizziness

You’re mentally drained:

*Poor memory

*Clouded focus

*Continuous worrying

*Racing thoughts

You’re emotionally vulnerable:

*Depression

*Anxiety

*Irritability

*Fear

The added stress can compromise your immune system, and if left unchecked, you leave yourself more susceptible to COVID-19.

So what’s the antidote? How can you keep yourself healthy and happy when you’re feeling overwhelmed with life?

Self-care, self-care, self-care!

Self-care can help you feel centered and grounded again when coronavirus has hurled you into a whirlpool of stress and anxiety. And here’s how you can do it.

Coping with Coronavirus Stress: 3 Self-Care Tips to Empower You

When you’re stuck at home, it can feel like all the days blend into each other. Creating a self-care routine will keep you empowered and advancing in your goals — even during these uncertain times.

Here are a few activities to add to your self-care routine.

#1 Deep Breathing

Take a moment and shift your attention to your breath.

When you’re feeling quarantine stress, you might experience shortness of breath without realizing it. This can lead to tightness in your body — your muscles might be tense and your shoulders raised.

Deep breathing will help you unwind from the tension.

Let’s try it now.

To the count of five, take a deep inhale through your nose.

1… 2… 3… 4… 5…

Next, hold that breath to the count of five.

1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 

Finally, slowly exhale through your mouth with a whooshing sound to the count of 10.

1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… 8… 9... 10.

If you still feel tension, complete another breath cycle. And more breath cycles until your heart rate slows, your mind becomes clearer and your body feels more grounded to the earth.

Next time you’re feeling stressed, don’t seek the nearest distraction outlet. Cultivate a sanctuary of calm within yourself.

Find your center within your breath.

#2 Spend Quality Time with Family

Life can be hectic. Before the pandemic there were meetings, running errands, feeding the family. Some days, you might have wondered how you managed to get even 70% of your to-do list checked off!

And in the process, you may have lost out on quality time with your family.

I know coronavirus can be scary… So why not use this time at home as an opportunity to be more present with your family?

When was the last time you watched a movie as a family? Or gathered around the table for game night?

Make time for this now.

Unwind from the stress by strengthening your support systems.

#3 Return to Nature

With fewer people commuting to work, have you stepped outside and noticed how much cleaner the air is?

Right now, your home may sometimes feel more like a cage than an oasis. Step outside and go for a long walk (if your area permits it). Studies show that exposure to sunshine encourages your body to produce more serotonin, which can “result in more positive moods and a calm yet focused mental outlook” (1).

In these stressful times, you need all the serotonin you can get!

So, take the dogs to your local park (if it’s open). If you’re feeling adventurous, challenge yourself by completing a hiking trail. Just remember to stay at least six feet away from other hikers!

Calm and Tranquility is Just 10 Minutes Away

Being stuck at home, you may feel like you’re an island. You might even feel like you’re the only one feeling coronavirus stress. At times, you may feel overwhelmed.

Remember: You’re not alone.

References:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/