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