There’s a lot of reasons to be stressed these days, but here are 9 tips to help you relax.
Feeling stressed? If so, you’re certainly not alone. A lot of what’s going on in the world right now is increasing many people’s stress levels. Concerns about getting sick from COVID-19, being out of work, having routines disrupted and more may be stressing you out – and even if not every aspect of our “new normal” affects you, there’s likely something about what’s happening across the nation and around the world that’s causing you stress.
But just because you have a reason to be stressed doesn’t mean you should allow stress to get the best of you. In fact, it’s important to find ways to try to reduce stress in your life because chronic stress can negatively affect your health. In addition to raising blood pressure and causing sleep difficulties, stress may lower your immune response, increase your risk of heart disease, lead to digestive problems and contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
You may not be able to control the reasons you are stressed right now. But you can take the following steps to avoid letting stress have the upper hand.
- Practice self-care. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
- Be more mindful. Focus on the moments in your life that bring you joy. A cup of coffee with your partner. More play time with your kids. A return to simple pleasures.
- Emphasize what you can do. There’s a lot going on that you can’t control but focus instead on what you can, such as washing your hands and practicing social distancing to stay healthier.
- Create a routine. Life may feel anything but routine right now. But creating new routines may help ease some of the stress that comes from feeling like nothing seems right.
- Plan for what may happen. Instead of worrying about what may happen, write down specific things that worry you and make a list of possible solutions should they occur.
- Breathe. Slow, deep breaths can help you relax and de-stress. When you feel tense, slowly count to 10 and back while breathing deeply.
- Stretch. Stress and tension wreak havoc on your muscles, so spend a few minutes stretching your shoulders, neck and back each day.
- Connect with others. Even when you need to stay physically distant from others, stay socially connected through phone, text and video conferencing platforms such as FaceTime or Zoom.
- Find “me” time. Although there may be a lot of people relying on you at home these days, taking just 10-15 minutes just for you every day may stop stress from rearing its ugly head.
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Date Last Reviewed: April 27, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD