Change can add stress to any family routine, but change amid a pandemic can bring stress to a whole new level.
Make sure you recognize signs of increased tension and address it before it impacts your life or health.
COMMON SIGNS OF INCREASED STRESS
- Changes in or difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Changes in eating patterns
- Increased use of substances like tobacco, alcohol, caffeine
- Increased feelings of irritation or anger
- Feeling uncertain, nervous or anxious
- Decreased motivation
- Feeling tired, overwhelmed or burned out
- Increased feelings of sadness
If you can relate to any of these, don’t worry! We can all feel stressed from time to time. But remember to take it easy on yourself and if you find these signs lingering, consider meeting with your physician or a mental health care professional.
COPING WITH STRESS
There are things you can do to help manage your stress during difficult times.
- Have realistic expectations. Taking too much on at once can set you up for failure. Be realistic about how much you can handle and don’t be afraid to ask others for help.
- Check in with friends and family members. Recognize you are not alone and there are people in your corner.
- Eat healthy, nutritious meals. Putting sugar in your gas tank may give you a quick bit of energy, but it will not sustain you for long.
- Make sure to take breaks. Stretch or go for a walk to clear your mind. Not only will this help your mind and body relax, but often you will find it easier to concentrate when you return.
- Address conflicts without adding to them. Proactively resolve conflicts in a positive manner rather than ignoring the situation and letting it fester.
- Try to find humor, when possible. Laughing has a positive impact on our body as it releases serotonin. Plus, having a good outlook can make it easier to tackle difficult situations.
- Reframe challenges into opportunities. Our attitude can have a big impact on how we approach life. A positive attitude can also be contagious, which is a side benefit.
- Set good boundaries. Try your best to focus on whatever is in front of you in the moment. While at work, be at work. Once you are home, focus on home.
- Recognize what is and is not in your control. Change what you can and let go of what is out of your hands.
- Be kind to others. Even in the face of stress, showing kindness to others can make you feel good, and they often will respond in turn.
- Get moving. Whether that’s working out at the gym, playing outside with the kids or getting in some steps—physical activity can help reduce stress and help you be tired at the end of the day.
Practicing these stress relieving tips might not solve the actual stressor, but it can help you maintain your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing until the stress has passed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these pages with more information:
Neither The Cincinnati Insurance Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates offer mental health or medical services or advice. If you find signs of stress affecting your life, consult with your physician or a mental health care professional.