coping coronavirus covid-19 dance eft eft tapping emotional freedom technique individual therapy insomnia meditation mindfulness movement music overwhelm progressive muscle relaxation relationship therapy sleep stress therapy Jun 08, 2020
By Renee Natvig, LCSW
Stress is a part of life, and I have been helping people cope with worry, tension, and anxiety for many years. But the ongoing stress people are feeling now as a result of the Covid-19 crisis is bigger than what most people have experienced in their lifetime. So finding ways to deal with both old and new stressors has become more important than ever.
Because of Covid-19, many people have lost their jobs and careers. Many who are working are finding themselves doing their jobs from home with the added burden of childcare. Some have been deemed essential workers and find themselves worrying about how to keep themselves and their families safe. Today, the act of buying groceries has become a stressful event in their life.
The Physical Ways We Seek Comfort May Not Be Available
Physical comfort, a staple of human connection, and soothing is not always possible right now. For people who live alone, turning to a friend or family member for a hug is no longer possible. Even people who are in relationships may find it difficult to connect physically and emotionally because they are preoccupied with feelings of overwhelm or simply feeling emotionally protective.
Signs You Are Dealing With Stress
While people show signs of stress differently, some of the most common signs of stress are:
How to Deal with Stress
There are many effective ways to deal with stress. You may need to try several strategies before you feel relief. And you may find that some strategies that worked before don’t help right now. That’s normal.
Here are some easy and effective ways to relieve stress:
Go for a walk
Even light exercise can help relieve stress. And walking in nature has been proven to increase feelings of well-being while reducing stress, anxiety, and fear. Brisk walking, a form of cardiovascular exercise, decreases the body's stress hormones and stimulates the production of endorphins, which elevate mood.
In addition to being a great way to move your body, dancing can boost your energy level and promote feelings of happiness. Putting on some music and dancing can brighten your mood.
Listen to Music
The right tune can lighten your mood and relax your mind and body. Faster paced, upbeat music can increase your energy while classical music can relax your mind. Some people find listening to a sad song to release bottled-up emotions can help release any underlying grief and allow you to cry. Some people are able to access feelings of joy by listening to a light and happy song.
Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation can help you relax tense muscles and promote a sense of calm in the body so you can get a restful sleep.
Get Some Sleep
Stress can upset the nervous system and throw the body’s system off balance. Having a relaxing evening routine, reducing screen time, and taking a warm bath with lavender and Epsom salt can help. But sometimes the body needs extra help getting back into balance so you may need to consult with a qualified physician to do bloodwork to check that your nutrient and hormone levels are within normal levels.
It goes without saying that a healthy diet is good for you but it goes even further than that when you’re dealing with the stress from a crisis. Reducing caffeine consumption, increasing fruits and vegetables, and eating natural, unprocessed foods can increase your well-being and help you feel better.
Meditation and Mindfulness
An ever-growing body of scientific research has shown that meditation in various forms is effective at calming the mind and body. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress, improve focus and mood, and improve stress-related physical conditions. And best of all, a little bit goes a long way.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
EFT (tapping) is a simple technique that involves gently tapping specific points on the face and body to reduce stress and relieve negative emotion. Clinical studies have shown the benefits of EFT on people suffering from the effects of PTSD. Once you learn the technique, you can do it on your own or with a therapist.
A crisis like a pandemic can trigger stress responses from past traumatic experiences. Working with a therapist can help you identify underlying issues, understand your responses, and develop new ways of coping in a safe and private setting.
Feeling your best can be particularly difficult in times of crisis, but there are ways to help deal with the stress of this time that are both easy to implement and free. Remember, everyone is different so keep trying things until you have several strategies on hand that work for you. Be well.
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