Previously, we shared about how to cope with office stress and work-life imbalance. To take things further, today we are going to discuss more ways to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression amid the current global crisis.
Over the past few months, the COVID-19 outbreak has been greatly affecting our lives in terms of work, travel, socialization, and other aspects. Suddenly, we find ourselves having to be extra careful about hygiene, cleanliness, getting around, and interacting with others. Many people have resorted to working from home, while others have faced job loss and job uncertainty, not to mention numerous health and safety concerns.
Tips for Dealing with Stress in Times of COVID-19
All of these changes have brought about stress, anxiety, and even depression — which we have to deal with sooner or later. If you’re not sure where to start, we have put together the following ways for relieving stress amid these uncertain times:
1. Get some sunshine.
Being exposed to sunlight releases serotonin, an enzyme that is related to keeping a person calm, focused, and in a positive mood. The simple act of going out to your terrace, patio, garden, or driveway to soak in some sunshine can do wonders. Make it a habit to get yourself some good ol’ sunshine for good health!
2. Do some deep breathing exercises.
Take a deep breath — inhale for four seconds, slowly exhale for another four seconds, then repeat for the next 10 minutes. This is a deep breathing exercise that can help you relax and deal with stress and anxiety. We recommend doing this at least three times throughout the day. In fact, why don’t you try it now?!
3. Get some exercise.
Speaking of exercise, doing some simple stretches, jogging in place, biking, playing badminton, or flexing your Zumba dance moves is also a great way to keep stress under control. Physical exercise releases endorphins, which can help boost your mood anytime! If you cannot go out to your regular gym, here are some exercise equipment that you can set up in your very own “home gym!”
4. Take a shower or bath.
During earlier times, the ancient Romans had communal baths; today, there are numerous springs and pools (both natural and man-made) designed for “hydrotherapy” (a.k.a. “water therapy”). Inside our homes, we have showers and bath tubs that not only keep us clean, but also help us to unwind after a stressful day. If your place has a pool, why not take a dip every now and then for some much needed rest and relaxation?
5. Eat healthy foods.
Now, more than ever, eating fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods is essential. Eating a balanced diet — while keeping salty and sugary foods to a minimum — is the way to go!
6. Learn how to cook.
You may not have been much of a cook before, or you rarely had the time — but now that you are spending more time at home, it’s a great idea to learn some new recipes. Here’s a few to get you started: kare-kare (ox tripe stew), lechon kawali deep-fried pork belly, lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls), pancit bihon (rice noodles), and the latest craze… ube cheese pandesal! There just might be a “chef” inside you that’s just waiting to be unleashed!
7. Have a cup of tea.
A cup of tea — green tea, in particular — contains less caffeine than coffee. It is also known to contain healthy antioxidants and theanine (amino acid), which can help you keep calm amid these stressful times. Enjoy a cup in the morning or midday to help you unwind.
8. Read a good book.
Reading a good book is a great way to relax. Regardless of the genre — romance, fantasy, thrillers, comics, history, science and technology, psychology, self-development, etc. — books are perfect for learning and entertainment. You can check out books from the nearest library, swap books with neighbours and friends, or buy new and secondhand books online.
9. Listen to relaxing music.
Have you ever been to a spa where they play relaxing sounds — chirping birds, falling rain, a flowing brook, ocean waves, traditional, instrumental music? You can easily bring this experience into your home by playing relaxing music in your phone or audio player.
In addition to calming music, you might want to light some scented candles as well. These would help create a relaxing and refreshing atmosphere for you and your loved ones.
10. Get enough sleep.
Never underestimate the importance of sleep as part of a healthy routine. Now is your chance to get a full night’s sleep, sleep in, and take a quick nap during the day. You will find yourself more energetic, focused, and relaxed when you get some much-needed sleep!
11. Keep your surroundings clean.
Keeping your house clean will not only keep it safe and germ-free; it also creates a refreshing and clutter-free ambiance that can help clear your mind. Here are some great cleaning tools that you can use, as well as organizers to help you tidy up your things.
12. Establish a (new) normal routine.
Our lives may have undergone lots of changes over the past few months, but this shouldn’t stop us from creating a “(new) normal” daily routine. Having a daily routine can help us better manage our time, while taking care of our physical, mental, and emotional health.
You can start by sticking to a regular sleep and wake up time, along with set times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t forget to include a schedule for exercising, relaxing, and pursuing a hobby (more on “hobbies” below).
13. Engage in a hobby.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” as the old saying goes. It also makes a person more prone to stress and anxiety. Be sure to make time for leisure by engaging in a relaxing hobby — baking, gardening, knitting, sewing, painting, potter making, photography, learning a new language, learning a musical instrument — anything that strikes your fancy, really! Pursue a hobby that will put you in a relaxed and positive mood each and every time!
14. Adopt a pet.
If you’re an animal lover, why not get a new “fur baby” from the nearest animal shelter? “Animal therapy” is one way to keep stress and anxiety at bay. Taking care of a pet, feeding, and playing with them could be an exciting and enjoyable experience. Speaking of domestic animals, here’s an article sharing all you need to know about caring for pets in Dubai.
15. Start a journal.
Have you ever tried journal writing as a way of releasing stress and anxiety? Oftentimes, simply jotting down your thoughts allows you to reflect, think of possible solutions, or even help change how you feel about a negative situation. In your journal, keeping a daily list of “things that I’m thankful for” or “good things I did today” is also a great way to remain positive.
16. Manage your news consumption.
While staying updated is essential, be sure to manage your news consumption. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with what you see and hear on TV and the Internet, consider setting a specific schedule for watching the news. In addition, be sure to get your information from reliable sources only. Stay away from websites and channels that tend to “sensationalize” news topics, and stick only to those that provide sound analysis and verified information.
17. Help each other out!
Now, more than ever, is the time to help one another, especially our family, neighbours, and friends. Do you know someone who has lost his/her job lately? Consider giving some food, water, or toiletry packs. Is your neighbour feeling homesick and lonely? Invite him/her for dinner and a board game. Are you skilled with your hands? Try learning a new skill, like giving free haircuts to your family and friends!
There are many ways to help people during these times; and don’t be shy to ask for help when you need it, too! Notably, here are some volunteer opportunities in Dubai that you might want to check out. We’re sure that you’ll find it a meaningful and fulfilling experience!
18. Find news ways of staying connected.
The pandemic might have hindered our travel plans and confined us to our homes, but it certainly cannot stop us from staying connected with others. Those who are already working from home have seen that it is possible to hold online meetings and remain productive during these times. Many schools have transitioned into online classes, and most stores/companies have released mobile apps for buying food, medicine, laundry services, and more.
When it comes to staying connected with your family and friends, there are multiple online platforms available: Facetime, Google Hangouts, Messenger, Skype, Zoom, and others. These are just some of the platforms we can use to chat, share stories, and virtually “hang out!”
We may not be sure when or how this current crisis will turn out, and there are many things still beyond our control. Nevertheless, we can rest assured that the government, medical experts, and other authorities are working hand-in-hand to find effective, long-term solutions. For now, let us abide by some basic rules — stay at home, practice social distancing, and maintain good personal hygiene — so that we can maintain our healthy and safety.