As we navigate these trying times, it is important to manage our stress during the COVID-19 crisis. We are adjusting to new daily routines as we shelter in place during the spread of Coronavirus, you may be struggling to balance work, family, and perhaps homeschooling. You may be worried about your finances. It is completely normal to feel stressed; these are extremely uncertain times, and there is a feeling of lack of control. It is important to manage this stress in order to maintain our health and wellness.
Here are some things you can do to manage your stress while sheltering at home:
1. Set a routine – Plan ahead and organize your day ahead of time, if you can. Wake up at the same time every day, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and set a routine for yourself. Maybe you work from 8:00am-10:00am, then take a break to take a walk with your kids from 10:00-10:30am, then work until lunch. Take a quick break at lunch. It is important to set up a routine, as it establishes a sense of control over your day. In addition, it allows you to prioritize your most important tasks and get those completed during your workday.
2. Get connected – You may feel very isolated while you are sheltering in place. Even though we are all at home, it is important to have social interaction. Try using your camera on your teleconferences. It is always fun for co-workers to see each other’s workspaces. Facetime with a friend and eat dinner together or have a happy hour virtually.
3. Be Active – While sheltering in our homes, it is very easy to become sedentary while sitting at our desks and watching too much TV at night! Make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of activity per day. You don’t need to have an intense workout every day. You can add in activity by walking around your house or office during a phone call. You can go for a walk around your neighborhood, walk your dog, do some yard work. You can find some great, free workouts on YouTube as well.
4. Slow Down – This may seem like a contradiction to my previous point, but it’s also important to slow down! Meditate, do some deep breathing exercises. Mindfulness is really important during this time. Most importantly, spend as much quality time with your family as you can. Eat meals together, go for walks, find a TV series that you all get hooked on. Take advantage of this time when we are not traveling for business, and take the time to have good time and good conversations with the ones we care about the most.
And finally, understand that the Coronavirus crisis will not last forever. This is just a short period of time that we need to make some sacrifices in order to combat the spread of this virus and serve the greater good. It is perfectly normal to feel stressed, but try and use the above tactics to find the silver linings. So, take a deep breath, give yourself a break, and stay health and well: both mentally and physically.
Gerry Stanley, MD