Why ‘Stress Management’, ‘How to deal with anxiety’, ‘Stress relaxation techniques‘ and the related terms have been one of the most searched terms on Pinterest in the first half of 2020?
We all know the answer. As now a few months into this social distancing and quarantine thing, we are facing its outcomes. The major one being is STRESS, be it emotional, physical or financial.
Humans are wired for social connection. Spending weeks isolated in our home is causing depression and anxiety to skyrocket, right at the time many of us can no longer even afford a psychologist.
WHY THERE IS A NEED OF SOCIAL DISTANCING?
Let’s go into a little background. Since early this year Coronavirus better called as COVID-19 has gradually spread throughout the world, affecting over a million people in almost every country and has claimed over 100,000 lives so far.
It has been declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization with the most badly hit regions including the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.
We are all facing such a situation for the first time in our lives. The disease is not fatal by itself but is highly contagious with 14 days’ incubation period. This means that the patient remains asymptomatic for an initial 14 days and then he shows signs of the disease. But during that incubation period, he remains contagious for all the people around him.
That’s why governments all around the world have to implement lockdowns, closed all non-essential businesses, factories, schools, colleges and universities, asked people to practice social distancing, proposed different disinfecting regimens so that we can get through this pandemic together safely and as soon as possible.
Many countries in the world are now able to contain the spread through these measures to some extent but it has pushed people to stay at home.
SOCIAL DISTANCING VS QUARANTINE VS SELF ISOLATION
Around the world, public officials are asking people who have contracted or been exposed to the new coronavirus to practice social distancing, quarantine or isolation measures in an effort to slow disease’s spread. What do these terms exactly mean?
- Social distancing means keeping a safe distance (approximately 6 feet) from others and avoiding gathering spaces such as schools, churches, concert halls and public transportation.
- Quarantine involves avoiding contact with others if a person has been exposed to coronavirus to see if they become ill.
- Isolation involves separating an individual who has contracted COVID-19 to prevent them from spreading it to others.
Quarantine is generally defined as the isolation and restricted movement of people who’ve been exposed to a contagious disease. With regard to COVID19, the kind of quarantine the population is using is not only to isolate children and adults who are ill but to protect non-sick people from catching the illness and preventing further contagion.
EFFECT ON EMOTIONAL HEALTH DURING QUARANTINE:
People with more introverted personalities tend to enjoy solitude, so they may have an easier time coping with reduced or limited social interactions. Introverts tend to feel drained after socializing, so they may actually cope pretty well during quarantine—at least for a time.
Even introverts need social contact, so finding ways to connect with others in some way is still essential.
It’s normal to feel stress when faced with staying indoors and interacting less with people, especially when that is added to the underlying stress of worrying whether you will catch the virus. These factors could increase your chances of developing a mental health issue, like anxiety or depression.
People can feel a mix of emotions during this period some of which include the following. sources of stress during this period include a drop in meaningful activities, sensory stimuli and social engagement; financial strain from being unable to work; and a lack of access to typical coping strategies such as going to the gym or attending religious services.
Fear and Anxiety
You may feel anxious or worried about yourself or your family members contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others. It’s also normal to have concerns about obtaining food and personal supplies, taking time off work or fulfilling family care obligations. Some people may have trouble sleeping or focusing on daily tasks.
Depression and Boredom
A hiatus from work and other meaningful activities interrupts your daily routine and may result in feelings of sadness or low mood. Extended periods of time spent at home can also cause feelings of boredom and loneliness.
Anger, Frustration or Irritability
The loss of agency and personal freedom associated with isolation and quarantine can often feel frustrating. You may also experience anger or resentment toward those who have issued quarantine or isolation orders or if you feel you were exposed to the virus because of another person’s negligence.
If you are sick or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, you may feel stigmatized by others who fear they will contract the illness if they interact with you.
HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS DURING COVID-19 CRISIS
What’s the best way to get through this period of isolation? There are many strategies that you can employ to ensure your well-being and good mental health.
I am not writing to tell you what to do. I am sharing a few things I have done and a few steps I am taking myself to stay positive in this COVID-19 crisis.
#1- Establish Routines
Have a consistent morning and night routine. Start your day in a consistent manner and have something that stabilizes your morning and sets the tone of your day. Wake up early and sleep early. I wake up around 5 am every day and sleep by 9-30 pm every night.
This is the same routine which I used to follow when I was working full time before this COVID 19 Crisis.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You can stave off some times to avoid monotony.
#2- Stay Active
This couldn’t be stressed enough. I believe these stay-at-home orders have cut down our physical activity by half. This will slow down the metabolism and reduce the muscle mass.
Stay active and taking out some time to exercise is a must otherwise you will end up being a couch potato.
What can be done
- Take a light walk every day outside if possible or on a treadmill inside.
- Do some light impact work out like yoga, stretching etc.
- Follow online YouTube workouts
- Join an online fitness program
#3- Eat Less and Eat Healthily
In this self-isolation scenario, I have limited my meals to one per day. As apart from a small workout in the morning, I am sitting all day in front of a laptop, working on this blog.
Though restaurants are closed for dine-in in most of the countries yet they are offering home delivery service.
I encourage you to prefer homemade food. The food we eat affects our health and well being and affects our mind and nervous system.
Eating too much, overloading on heavy foods, sugar, and too much caffeine can actually deplete us. Watch how much more clear you think when you eliminate alcohol, change your diet, and feed your body well.
Everyone is at home so eat with your family at the dining table. This time can be used to increase bonding with family.
#4- Limit Your Obsession Over Endless Coronavirus Coverage
Watching too much news, reading too many articles, and consuming too much content can be overwhelming. Freeing up your day from work or social obligations gives you plenty of time to obsess, and if you have a tendency to consult Google for every itch and sneeze, you may be over-researching the pandemic as well.
You might decide to check the news twice a day. Or you might decide to limit your time on social media if everyone is talking about the virus.
Make sure you seek sites that give factual information about what you can do to stay healthy, such as the CDC and WHO.
Remember that most media outlets work from a fear-based approach — where creating sensational stories gets higher viewership.
The greater the audience numbers, the more media organizations can charge higher amounts of money for advertising.
Stay informed but do not overwhelm yourself with continuously changing information.
#5- Watch Your Screen Time: Avoid Mindlessly Watching Netflix
Yes, Netflix is cheap but your time is very precious.
Be mindful of what you watch on screens. It affects our lives in one way or another. I would suggest instead of seasons and mindless movies watch documentaries.
Some movies I have watched in last month are,
- The Hidden Figures-2017: This story is about three female African-American mathematicians who have played a pivotal role in astronaut John Glenn’s launch into orbit in 1961. Meanwhile, they also have to deal with racial and gender discrimination at work.
- Chernobyl: Web Miniseries-2019: It’s a 5 part miniseries which revolves around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of April 1986 and the cleanup efforts that followed.
- The Pursuit of Happyness-2006: Real-life story of a homeless salesman went on to form his own multimillion-dollar brokerage firm.
- Spare Parts- 2015: It is the true story of a group of students from a mainly Latino high school, who won the first place over M.I.T.in the 2004 MATE ROV competition.
I would recommend watching these or similar movies with some message and inspiration.
#6- Call Your Friends and Family:
Remember its social distancing, not social isolation. Call your friends and family, message them, FaceTime or call on Skype. This way you can fill some of the gaps. Leverage this time to strengthen your bond with family.
#7- Declutter Your House
A chaotic home can lead to a chaotic mind: Keep your house clean. For the sense of change move a few things around. Don’t eat on your bed and don’t work on the sofa half laying down. Eat at the table with your family on time and work on your desk. Avoid cluttering.
#8- Practice Empathy and Compassion
This is the time when looking after others is the most needed.
Don’t forget to check on your neighbours, your friends and your relatives. They might need you emotionally or financially.
If you have any house help coming to your house, check on to them as well.
Be supportive and offer encouraging words to others.
#9- Choose Positivity
In times of uncertainty, it can be easy to feel a little hopeless and at a loss of what to do with yourself. Positivity is a mindset that doesn’t just come to us when we need it, it’s something we must practise daily, especially at times like this.
Be Positive and Spread Positivity.
#10- Distract Yourself
Distract yourself Another way to boost your mental health is to find healthy distractions. This might come in the form of reading, watching shows, listening to music, or finding other activities that interest you.
#11- Read Good Books
I am a book lover and I can speak for days about books. In short, good books can be your best friend and this is the best time to get hold of this habit. Books will tell you that this, that it is not the first time the world is facing a pandemic. It has been witnessed a couple of times in the past 800 to 1000 years.
I have jotted down my reading list of 39 books which I have read in past few months, and I believe everyone should read those books in 2020, as this seems to be the most happening year of this century.
We need to think over our life strategy as the things which use to work 10, 20 years ago, do not work anymore.
These books will enlighten you, as they have enlightened me and helped me become a tech blogger along with my 9 to 5 medical job.
“Sometimes decades pass and nothing happens, and sometimes decades happen in weeks” Tai Lopez
You can read my article here: Reading List: 39 Best Life-Changing Books To Read in 2020.
For years wellness gurus have talked about meditation as if it is the holy grail for mental health. Meditation has many health benefits, but its ability to lower stress and ease anxiety is why it needs to be in your COVID-19 mental toolbox.
One of the most popular and easiest styles of mediation is mindfulness meditation. The idea is to get still and quiet while keeping the mind on the present moment.
For beginners, it can be helpful to listen to a guided meditation, which can help keep your mind from getting swept away from the endless thoughts in your head.
Consider ending your day with a daily morning and nighttime meditation.
#13- Start Journaling
Journaling is well-known as a therapeutic practice, a tool for helping you organize your thoughts and vent your emotions, especially in anxiety-ridden times. But keeping a diary has an added benefit during a pandemic: It may help educate future generations.
Start writing down your thoughts and goals in a journal so that you can reflect on it later.
Don’t forget to write about the things you are grateful for.
#14- Signup For a Self Development Online Course
Use this time to sign up for an online course. There are thousands of people out there selling courses on personal development etc.,
I have taken many but I will recommend one course which I took myself last year and found it extremely helpful.
This course is offered by Tai Lopez, a well-known internet marketer in the world. In fact, It was my first step towards self-development and financial freedom. It is known as THE 67 STEPS. You can find out the details here.
It consists of enlightening lecture series with small exercise at the end of each talk.
This course will make you rethink your life and by the end of the program, you will figure out your life problems by your self and will have some plan to fix those out. I guarantee…
#15- Start a Side Business
You have plenty of time why not start a side hustle. Something which can work on its own in the longer run.
No, you don’t need a hefty investment to start a business. I am running this blog with less than $50 each month. Think over it. The 67 Steps program will help you figure out what side hustle you can start with.
I have a few recommendations, Each one of the following has been already tested by me. I am giving you my honest opinion
- Start a Blog: Read my over 10,000 words detailed guide on how to start a blog. It is pretty detailed. You can start building your blog right away. In case you need further help in any step of setting up a blog you can always contact me. Find out more information here.
To start a blog you need fully managed WordPress hosting for which I recommend Bluehost. With Bluehost comes Free Domain, Free SSL, Free CDN, One-Click Word Press Install and amazing customer support.
You can start at as low as $3.95 per month at Bluehost.
Get started with Bluehost
- Start a Social Media Marketing Agency: This is a high time to learn social media marketing. As a lot of brick and mortar stores have been closed due to COVID 19 social distancing measures, small businesses which do not have an online presence are struggling. Small businesses need you more than ever.
I have done this course too. It is the most detailed course out there.
- Start an Affiliate Marketing Business
The best definition of what affiliate marketing is can be found on Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income:
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.
It is based on revenue sharing. If you have a product and want to sell more, you can offer promoters a financial incentive through an affiliate program. If you have no product and want to make money, then you can promote a product that you feel has value and earn an income from it as an affiliate marketer.
Before diving into affiliate marketing, It is better to learn the process first. Two courses which are best to learn affiliate marketing are as follows. You can go through the details of each by clicking on the links and decide your self which one to proceed with.
- Work as a Freelancer: For freelancing, I recommend Fiverr and Flexjobs.To test the waters and work as a premium freelancer, I recommend you check out the Fiverr job board.
These are some of my recommendations you come up with your own. An be patient. Things take time.
#16- Find Sources of Comfort:
Finding ways to give yourself comfort even when you are feeling lonely can help to improve your mental health. Below are some ideas of “self-care measures” that you can take even if you are alone.
- Give yourself a foot massage or use a foot spa
- Take a long shower
- Focus on your pet
- Cook healthy comfort food
- Watch favourite TV shows or read favourite books
- Have a cup of herbal tea (chamomile will help you to relax)
- Light scented candles (lavender will help to reduce stress)
- Practice sleep hygiene to make sure you are getting enough rest
#17- Get Things Done: Be Meaning Full Of Your Routine
Every day jot down tasks you want to accomplish, things you want to get done and then try to get that list all crossed
Getting things done can provide a sense of purpose and competency. It gives you something to work towards and something to look forward to each day. Having something special during this time will help you look forward to each new day.
#18- Focus On The Things You Can Control
Examine your worries and aim to be realistic in your assessment of the actual concern as well as your ability to cope. Try not to catastrophize; instead, focus on what you can do and accept the things you can’t change.
One way to do this is to keep a daily gratitude journal. You may also choose to download smartphone applications that deliver mindfulness and relaxation exercises.
#19- Use Mindful Words
It’s easy to fall into pessimistic thinking during the quarantine. The way you see the world and the future can become an all-or-nothing experience.
Rephrase “I lost my job ” to “I can finally focus on starting an online business”
#20- Reach Out For Help If Your Anxiety Becomes Unmanageable
If you find yourself with very poor mental health while isolated during coronavirus and aren’t able to pull yourself out of feelings of anxiety, depression, or fear, it is important to reach out for help.
Consider calling a crisis line or an online telemedicine therapy service to find out about options. While it’s normal to feel afraid and lonely at a time like this, worsening mental health could indicate the need for outside help.
Many licensed psychologists are offering telehealth options over HIPAA-compliant video chat platforms.
#21- Stress Management For Children During COVID-19 Crisis
Kids are stressed too. Managing your own anxiety can help calm the fears of children in your home.
There are ways parents can help their children manage the stress of being isolated for a long period of time from friends, family and activities and places to which they are accustomed.
To help your children manage their anxiety during quarantine, the following are recommended
- Help them stay connected with others – Face time or call friends and relatives, play games or puzzles together, make cards for the elderly or those who are isolated.
- Keep up their physical activity – Take advantage of nice weather to get outside and walk or play. When inside, explore online videos to dance, do yoga or workout.
- Monitor their news and social media intake – Talk to your children about how to select news with factual information and limit the amount of time they spend on media. Monitor your own use and avoid watching or listening to anything that might be upsetting when your children are present.
- Keep up their routine – Continue their normal day to the best of your abilities…same time for waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, doing schoolwork, taking a break, going outside for recess.
- Practice mindfulness with them to stay present – Do breathing exercises, draw, paint, sing, cook, meditate, make slime, read a story.
- Remain calm and provide reassurance – Talk about their feelings, help them reframe their concerns, let them know adults in their lives are there to keep them safe and healthy. Make sure your explanations are age-appropriate.
- Keep them positive – Talk about things you are grateful for as a family or things that are going well, help them choose activities which are pleasant and improve their mood.
- Acknowledge that there is, for now, a new normal – Talk about being flexible as a family to cope with each day’s new challenges.
STRESS MANAGEMENT: LET’S WRAP IT UP
Humans are wired for social connection. With most of the country in a temporary quarantine, the abrupt change has proven to be an unsurprisingly tough transition. Spending weeks on end isolated in our home is causing depression and anxiety to skyrocket right at the time many of us can no longer even afford a psychologist.
Thankfully, there are some lifestyle solutions that don’t cost a fortune and can be done from home that can help anyone struggling with depression and anxiety.
Remember that by taking such measures, you are reducing the possibility of transmitting COVID-19 and protecting those who are most vulnerable.
Share with us what you’re up to while staying at home and what has been helpful for you! I hope your families, friends, and loved ones all are safe and sound.
Further Reading on UBQ Digital Marketing.com: To dive deeper into some of these online strategies, check out my guide to learn how to start a blog and what are some of the best platforms to start blogging with.
P.S: Do you know I could help you grow your blog personally? Yeah, that’s right. I offer special WordPress services to help your set up your website create content and monetize it.
I can put you on the path of financial freedom in 3 short months, only if you are willing to put in work and have a lot of patience.
If you will work with me, I will make sure that your goals and expectations are met in the best possible way. Find out more information here.
Umama Batool Qazi: A Full-time Dentist, Social Media Marketer and Head Blogger. I write about books, work from home ideas and digital marketing. Join me and other readers here at ubqdigitalmarketing.com to learn about blogging and digital marketing using our recommended resources.