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Help With Handling Stress
Stress can happen any time, but this is a particularly stressful period. Especially if you are staying home and unable to go to work, you might be feeling anxious and irritated.
Experts have some suggestions for ways you might be able to reduce your stress:
Exercise. Exercise, especially over time, can reduce your stress hormones and increase chemicals in the body that make you feel more relaxed and help you sleep better. You might not be able to go to the gym, but you can get outside for a walk, a run, a hike or a bike ride – keeping a safe distance from other people. You also can work out at home; check online for workout plans you can do at home.
Get enough sleep. Exercise also can help you get better sleep, as can some scents, particularly lavender. Try some herbal tea, but avoid caffeine. Keep to a bedtime routine, including going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. And avoid looking at your screens for awhile before bed. That has the added benefit of helping you avoid the news, which is stressful.
Eat well. This stress is going to last awhile, so avoid stress-based binging. Instead, eat a balanced diet that includes proteins, fruits, vegetables and grains. Drink plenty of water, but be careful about caffeine and alcohol.
Try yoga or mindfulness. It is possible to study yoga or meditation for years, but there are some things you can do even as a beginner. Do some basic yoga stretches. Practice deep breathing: Breathe in and out slowly, and focus on your breathing. This can calm your heart rate and ease stress. You can expand deep breathing to include mindfulness or meditation. There are many resources online to help you.
Take a break from the news. Certainly you want to know what’s going on. But tuning in obsessively can just add to your stress. Take a time out. Listen to music, watch a movie or show on TV, read a book, play a game, bake, or do a craft. Plan a dream vacation for when you can move around freely again. Cuddle on the couch with your significant other, your kids or your pet.
Reach out. Even though there are restrictions on how much you can be physically present with people – and how many people – there are many other ways to be in community. Try FaceTime or Google Hangout, or any of the many programs that allow you to connect online with people who are not where you are. Call a friend or family member and chat. Use email and social media to connect.
Laugh. Laughter is a powerful stress-reducer. Watch a something hilarious on TV, read a funny book, call someone who makes you laugh.