While we are several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, it is completely normal if you still feel a bit overwhelmed. This is a situation most of us around the world have never dealt with before. Many people are struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially in circumstances where quarantine, self-isolation, or social distancing need to be enforced. The ever-changing nature of this situation can also lead you to feel stressed and uncertain.
First, it is important to realize that it is okay to feel this way. Stress is a natural response to circumstances like these—especially if you find yourself worried about your health, your loved ones and their health, your job or finances, the future of the economy, or many other issues that have come to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While it is normal and okay to experience stress and worry, it is important to know how to reduce stress in healthy ways. You cannot change what is happening, but you can decide how you will react to it. Coping with stress in healthy ways can help to improve your physical health and wellbeing, reduce depression, and boost your immune system.
Here are a few simple tips for reducing your stress:
- Stay physically active.
Engaging in regular physical exercise can reduce anxiety, anger, frustration, and overall mood distress. That’s because physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural substances that help you feel better.
To reap the benefits of physical activity, you can do something as simple as going for a walk each day. You don’t have to be an Olympian or a marathon runner! Certain types of hearing aids even track your steps for you so you can see how much you are walking every day. Try different kinds of exercise and find one you really enjoy.
2. Use relaxation techniques.
Take time to relax every day. You can try meditating (there are many guided meditation practices available online), deep breathing, aromatherapy, or listening to relaxing music or nature sounds. If your hearing aids are equipped to stream audio with a Bluetooth connection, you can even stream the sound directly to your devices.
3. Stop smoking and reduce your caffeine intake.
While you may be aware of the other health dangers of smoking, you might not know that this habit can increase your stress. Nicotine, which is found in cigarettes, acts as a stimulant and brings on more stress symptoms.
Caffeine is also a stimulant. Depending on how your body handles caffeine, you may find yourself feeling anxious or jittery if you consume too much.
4. Write it down.
Writing down exactly what is stressing you can help you better handle the stress. This allows you to make a concrete determination of what is causing your stress and how you can deal with the stressor.
You can also take this opportunity to write down things you are grateful for. Gratitude can help to relieve stress and anxiety by helping you focus on positive things in your life.
5. Limit your news intake.
While it can be tempting to watch the news almost constantly during times like these, try to resist. Continuously hearing and watching news stories about health dangers and other problems at this time can add to the stress you are already feeling.
If you want to stay up to date, set a limit for how much news you will consume every day. Maybe you will only watch the news channel for 20 minutes, or read-only 2 news articles.
Finding healthy ways to cope with stress is important, especially during uncertain times like these. If you would like more information about how to reduce stress and improve your health, we invite you to contact our hearing practice today.