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Effective Ways to Manage Stress During COVID-19

by stephanie reck  
6/24/2020 / Health


I recently read a report that only 15% of Americans are happy right now. This low percentage has not been this way since the great depression. COVID-19, economic hardships, and racial tensions are causing many to experience stress. 


Alcohol consumption and sales are as high as they are during Christmas and New Year's Eve. For someone who has dealt with alcohol dependency, I have felt the pressure to numb the stress with alcohol. 


Depression and anxiety are higher now than before COVID-19. Those that had these conditions prior to COVID-19 are experiencing elevated symptoms. 


With all the stressful events and circumstances in our country, it is imperative to find healthy ways to manage stress levels. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to manage stress. 


Before I discuss some effective ways to reduce your stress levels, let's take a look at what you want to avoid or reduce.


The following are known as unhealthy ways to manage stress:


  1. Alcohol. 
  2. Overeating or eating a lot of processed, sugary, and/or fatty foods.
  3. Illegal drugs and abuse of prescription drugs. 
  4. Smoking.
  5. Continually watching or reading negative news.
  6. Caffeine over-consumption.
  7. Overspending. 
  8. Not getting enough sleep. 
  9. Overworking.


Now that we discussed what you want to avoid or decrease to manage stress. Let's now take a look at some effective ways to reduce stress:


  1. Incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine. Walking is one of the best stress reducers. 
  2. Eat a more balanced diet. Include fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet.
  3. Enjoy nature and get outdoors. Being outdoors can be calming and peaceful, and can cause you to naturally feel relaxed. 
  4. Take a time-out when you need to. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or overly stressed; take a breather. Disconnect from your phone and social media. Do something that you enjoy or that is relaxing for you by practicing self-care.
  5. Preferably, first thing in the morning get alone with God. You want to aim for first thing in the morning before your day begins. Pray, talk to God about your concerns, and allow Him to minister to your needs.
  6. Try Kava Kava or passionflower teas to naturally reduce tension and to promote relaxation. (disclaimer, this is not medical advice but natural remedies).
  7. Do something creative-write, paint, build, garden, or rearrange a room.
  8. Watch, listen or read positive, faith-filled messages from those who would build your faith.
  9. Watch a comedy or an inspirational movie. 
  10. Decrease your time with negative influences and increase your time with those that are a positive influence.
  11. Do something kind for someone. It does not have to be something big, you could give a smile to someone or tell your checker that you appreciate them. 
  12. Stay thankful. Focus on your blessings. Write down or say aloud daily at least (5) things that you are thankful for.
  13. Do your best with staying positive and optimistic, as you will build your emotional resiliency (the ability to bounce back from stressful situations). Don't deny that you feel stress, but don't stay continually focused on it.  
  14. Change your perspective by intentionally focusing on the good aspects of your life, and good that you see coming from stressful events.
  15. Keep a routine. Our bodies naturally crave routine, and by consistently maintaining a routine you increase your body's ability to deal with the physical aspects of stress.


The best strategy for dealing with these stressful times is when you are feeling stressed or anxious is to get alone time with God. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring comfort, peace, and guidance. 



Reflect and respond:


  1. Are you using unhealthy ways to manage your stress? What can you do differently to manage your stress in more healthy ways?
  2. Which healthy techniques to reduce stress work better for you? How can you work towards building these into your day/week?




 

 

Stephanie R. Reck, LMSW, LBT, BCCC
Founder of Hope Ministry
www.stephaniereck.com
[email protected]
Hope Ministry, @2020
Author of, "Disciplining Your Mind 30 Days to a Better You!"

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