Methodist Healthcare - April 20, 2020

Now more than ever stress may start to feel like it is a normal part of the day. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created a disruption in many aspects of everyday life and a normal routine. Cancelations of events can cause a feeling of isolation. Kids staying home from school can create a lot of noise and chaos in your home. You or a loved one may have lost their job, causing a financial hardship. Many of us are facing uncertain times, with an uncertain outcome, which can trigger a lot of sleepless nights and anxiety.

Stress affects us all. Our bodies and minds are exhausted from the constant demands the current world puts on us every day. Never before has mankind had so many possibilities for peace: groceries sent to your front steps, loved ones a call away, and all your favorite movies at the click of a button. Yet, never before has mankind been so stressed. According to the American Institute of Stress, 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms of stress and 73% regularly experience psychological symptoms. Stress can be impactful on both the mind and body, as heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism, as well as sensitivity and reactivity are effected by high rates of stress.

So what can we do? As tempting as it is to quit our jobs and move to a remote island, that dream isn’t very attainable or realistic. Yet a balance between work and rest should be. There are several simple activities one can engage in to lower their stress and increase their overall quality of life, without booking a flight to Hawaii.

1. Exercise

Exercising is not only great for the body, but for the mind as well. You’re body releases feel good endorphin hormones when you get out and get moving which can improve your mood and reduce your stress. Exercise can also act as a distraction from your to-do list, causing you to focus solely on the task at hand.

2. Mindfulness & Meditation

Taking a deep breath can do wonders for gaining perspective, reducing negative emotions, and focusing on the present. Take 5 minutes between stressful tasks to breath, relax, and concentrate on the present moment instead of worrying about the future or the past. 2 Behavioral Health Services

3. Decrease Screen Time

In the new era of technology it seems one can never get enough of the content at hand. Yet, this constant source of information overload can be a major factor contributing to increased levels of stress. According to the American Psychological Association, “nearly one-fifth of Americans, or 18%, identify the use of technology as a very or somewhat significant source of stress.” Reducing and controlling the amount of time you spend on technology of any kind can greatly reduce stress and allow for more productive and healthy activities.

4. Prioritize

When you have what feels like millions of tasks on your plate, prioritizing can be a helpful way to reach your goals and find a balance. Spending time with friends and family, taking care of your health, thriving at work, and keeping up to date with what’s going on in the world are all important, but some more so than others. Consider making a list of everything you do in a day and then reflect on the importance or pertinence of each tasks. Are your most important responsibilities getting the most of your time? Being aware of where your priorities are is the first step to getting them where you want them to be.

If you or a loved one is experiencing stress that is interfering with your everyday life, and need someone to talk to, we are here to help.