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4 Coping Strategies on How to Relieve Stress in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Having strategies to cope with stress during this COVID-19 pandemic will make you, your loved ones, and your community stronger and healthier beyond this life stage of challenges.

The challenges that most of us are facing today may lead us to have more stressful emotions like the feeling of being isolated and lonely. Feelings like fear, sadness, worry, or frustration. Some may have changes in appetite, energy, desire, and interests. Others could have difficulty sleeping, physical reactions, chronic health problems, or even worsening of mental health conditions. These were just a few signs that you are experiencing stress, and you need to cope with this to avoid the situation getting worse.

Coping commonly means adjusting to or tolerating negative events or realities while you try to keep your positive self-image and emotional balance. Coping occurs in the context of life changes to adjust and help you throughout stressful situations. Learning some healthy strategies to cope with stress and getting the right care and support can help reduce stressful feelings and symptoms. Here is a list of the four coping strategies to relieve stress.

1. Take good care of yourself

Taking care of one’s health and taking care of your body must be a top priority strategy to fight against the bad effects of stress. Try to eat healthy and well-balanced meals by eating right. Stress levels and a healthy diet are closely related. When we are under stress, we might often forget to eat well and resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods, which turn out to be unhealthy. Exercise regularly does not mean power lifting at the gym, but simple stretching and a short walk will do. Get plenty of sleep, because lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. Giving yourself a break if you feel stressed out is another way. You can also take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate and try to relax. Continue with preventive measures like vaccinations, daily check-ups, the use of telehealth like remote patient monitoring, cancer screenings, or as recommended by your healthcare provider.

2. Take time to unwind, relax or have a break

Make time to relax and unwind to free yourself from negativity caused by stress. You could engage in pleasurable or fun activities or do some other activities you love and enjoy, like watching your favorite movie, reading, or listening to relaxing music. Relaxing and calming music has a positive effect on the brain and body. It might lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress. Another example is social media breaks; while it is important to be informed and knowledgeable about some news, hearing about traumatic events on a regular basis can be upsetting. Consider limiting the news to just a couple of times a day. Take brief rest periods during the day to relax, or you can take vacations away from home and work. You could also try yoga, prayer, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to help you relax, as well as other things.

3. Connect or socialize with others

Good and positive relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle. By maintaining emotionally supportive relationships with others, we can protect ourselves against stress and enhance our prospects for successful coping. Emotional support buffers individuals against the negative impact of stress. You can call or talk to a special someone, a loved one, or a friend about your problems. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Share your problems, your feelings, and have time to socialize with them, for example, your parent, friend, counselor, doctor, or pastor. You can also connect with your community- or faith-based organizations.

4. Seek professional help once needed

Do not carry the biggest or worst problem on your own. If you cannot control your emotions, stress, or problems anymore, or when you need more help, you can seek advice from a professional. If problems continue and get worse or you are thinking about suicide, do not hesitate to talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor. Their expert advice could give you assurance, enlighten you, and guide you to cope with the problem you are experiencing.

Takeaway

Stress is unavoidable, but you should not ignore it because untreated stress can cause potentially serious physical and mental health problems. The good thing is that, in most cases, stress is manageable. With some patience and a few useful strategies, you can reduce or cope with your stress. Coping involves adjusting and changing to unusual demands. This solely requires greater effort and greater energy. Consistency and accuracy of efforts and strategies can contribute to stress-related hormones and help you along the way. Being able to fit the most appropriate coping strategy to the demands of different situations will definitely help you relieve yourself from stress.

References

  1. Reese, N. (n.d.). 10 simple ways to relieve stress. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/10-ways-to-relieve-stress#takeaway
  2. Tips for coping with Stress|Publications|Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC. (2021, January 29). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/about/copingwith-stresstips.html
  3. Stressors: Coping skills and strategies. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/6392-stress-coping-with-lifes-stressorshttps://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/6392-stress-coping-with-lifes-stressors

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