Managing COVID-19 Related Stress
Being sick is never a good feeling, but testing positive to corona virus creates a state of mixed feelings and constant anxiety. As the corona virus continues to spread, so does the anxiety and other overwhelming state of emotion which accompanies it. Managing these overwhelming emotions can be quite challenging. In addition to the demands of the virus, including changing lifestyles, working and living in isolation, and limiting physical interactions, testing positive can increase a person’s stress levels.
The common causes of stress during the pandemic are reported as uncertainty, lack of routine and reduced social support.
It is thus important to engage in healthy activities that will help manage the stress:
- Create a healthy routine: Routines help us maintain a balance in our daily lifestyle. It helps reduce the feeling of anxiety. Create a list of major requirements for most of your days and follow them accordingly. Routines are essential because they create a sense of normalcy and control in our lives.
- Stay physically active: Isolation due to the virus will result in less engagement in activities. Regular physical activity contributes to general good health, and as such, it is highly recommended. Engaging in physical activity increases blood flow, and thereby increases the circulation of immune cells. Simple exercises like 5-10 minutes light intensity walking, jogging or skipping keeps the body active, help ease the muscle and improve blood circulation.
- Stay connected: Social support is a very important aspect of our general wellbeing. While it is important to isolate after testing positive to the coronavirus, it is advisable to connect with friends and family through phones, video calls, chats and e-mails. This helps reduce the feelings of loneliness which one may experience in isolation. It also gives the assurance that a person can rely on others for mental and emotional support.
- Limit unverified news and media consumption: constant exposure to wrong and unverified news can put one at risk of increased anxiety and a state of fear and confusion. It is important to stick to either one or two reputable source(s) of information and abide by every guidelines and protocols accordingly. It is also advisable to take media breaks. Give yourself short periods of time to stay away from the news and the media generally.
- Engage in different simple activities: being in isolation can be exhausting, making the days seem long and difficult. It is thus important to engage in activities that will distract you from the news, or from the stress of the situation. If you will be admitted in an isolation center, take a book with you. Being in isolation will be a good time to catch up on some reading. If you are isolating at home, this may be a good time to de-clutter and clean out your room, or change the set up of the room. You can also learn new skills or enroll in a free online class.
- Seek mental health support: Isolation poses a big threat to people (especially people who used to be very active) that it affects their mental health. The most important step to take in this situation is to seek help from required source(s). The availability of the tele-based mental health emergency helpline has created a channel for the accessibility of mental heath health support at any point in time. Do not hesitate to reach out to call the Lagos Lifeline on 0909-000-6463 to speak with a counselor who will provide the necessary psychosocial support you need.