How to Cope With Stress in Uncertain Times

COVID-19’s impact on all of our lives has been wide-reaching and challenging. Beyond the virus’s physical effects on the body, the pandemic has caused extreme stress. Whether it’s the anxiety of losing a job, not being able to see friends, losing loved ones or simply grieving the loss of normal times, everyone handles these difficulties in different ways.

While public health measures to get the pandemic under control continue to take place, there are things you can do to ensure your mental wellness doesn’t suffer.

The Impact of Excess Stress

It’s no secret that stress can cause a number of issues, including:

Shift in Feelings

Those who are experiencing high levels of stress may experience fear, sadness, frustration and anger more frequently.

Lack of Energy and Appetite

Changes in appetite are not uncommon, as is the lack of desire to do things one once enjoyed. 

Trouble Concentrating

Stress can consume the mind, causing an individual to lack focus in their day-to-day life.

Difficulty Sleeping

Good rest is one of the best ways to restore your brain and body after stressful days, but those who have consistent stress may find it difficult to get to sleep and sleep well.

Increased Use of Substances

One of the greatest risks of enhanced stress levels is the increased likelihood of someone turning to tobacco, alcohol or drugs to cope.

Other Physical Responses

Headaches, body aches, gastrointestinal issues and skin irritations are all common physical manifestations of stress.

Healthy Methods for Coping with Stress

There are several actions you can take to manage current stress and better handle future anxiety and frustrations.

Take A Break

Often a coping mechanism for stress is to fill your time even more, but one of the best things you can do is to rest. Put down your phone and know your limit with the news. Disconnect from social media and your TV regularly. Make sure you’re building in time to your day to enjoy things you like.

Maintain a Healthy Diet and Exercise Regimen

It can be easy to turn to junk food and a sedentary lifestyle when life is overwhelming. But if you can make an effort to eat well-balanced meals, exercise regularly — whether it’s a 5K, a yoga class or a walk around the block — and get plenty of sleep, your body will thank you. 

Connect with People

One of the many byproducts of stress is that it can cause some people to retreat inward. While it can be difficult to connect with others in this age of social distancing, take time to regularly call a friend or go on a distanced walk with a neighbor. Even starting meetings early to talk with coworkers can boost your spirits.

Talk to a Professional

If the above methods are not adequate, or your stress is interfering with your ability to live a fruitful life, please reach out to your healthcare provider or visit Psychology Today to find a therapist near you. 

How Employers Can Help Stressed-Out Employees

Employers can, and should, proactively address the stress experienced by their teams. Some of the ways you can do this are by:

  • Recognizing the challenging time we’re living in.
  • Offering mental health resources and benefits.
  • Reiterating the importance of taking breaks or PTO.
  • Encouraging employees to ask for help. 

Employees will feel more valued if their companies acknowledge the challenges that exist and the stress everyone is feeling.

For more wellness resources, be sure to follow along with Cornerstone’s blog. If you’re looking to expand your company’s wellness and benefits, contact Cornerstone today.