The pandemic has increased stress levels for adults and children. While a certain level of stress is healthy and even motivating, too much stress can cause problems and affect our health, productivity, and relationships.
Responses to stress can be physical, such as getting a headache or stomachache when you feel you’re under too much pressure. On an emotional level, you may feel anxious, sad, or fearful. The physical changes in your body, such as increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and muscle tension, can take a toll and lead to mental and physical fatigue and illness.
Keys to manage stress include the following:
- Stay connected with positive, emotionally healthy people. You’ll feel happier and more energetic when you’re around people with supportive and positive attitudes.
- Take time out. Take a walk to clear your mind, meditate, listen to music, or call a friend.
- Exercise on a regular basis, eat nutritious foods, and get enough sleep. This is a preventative measure as well as a coping strategy.
- Stay flexible and maintain your sense of humor. Remember you can’t always control the things that happen, but you can control how you react.
- Get professional help if emotional distress impacts your quality of life. We all feel anxious at times, but if stress and anxiety affect your life in consistent and negative ways, it’s time to talk to a professional.