Managing Stress During The Outbreak

If you’re following the advice of health experts (and I hope you are), you’ve been spending a lot of time at home and limiting your time in public spaces over the last few weeks…

For many, especially those that thrive in social settings, the lack of daily interaction with others has been difficult, with some experiencing feelings of sadness and isolation.

Life as we knew it has certainly changed.

And, feeling a little blue about our new reality is completely normal.

But rather than dwelling on what used to be, Karen and I have been focused on ways we can manage our increased stress levels and ease the anxiety of social distancing.

Here’s what we’ve been doing.

First and foremost, we’ve stayed connected to our family and close friends across the country.

No one should be going through this time alone, as loneliness can put you on a fast track to depression and anxiety.

Pick up the phone and call your close friends and family.

Even better, FaceTime so you can actually see them.

Have a group of friends who regularly get together for coffee? Plan a virtual coffee date.

Miss movie night? Try a Netflix party. This free extension for Google Chrome lets you watch Netflix remotely with friends.

Even if we can’t physically be with our family and friends, we can still interact with them regularly.

Social distancing doesn’t mean complete isolation, so let’s stay connected.

We’ve also been trying to maintain a “normal” sleep schedule… aiming for 7-8 hours of shut eye each night.

I know for many, this has been difficult.

There’s no office to drive into. Schools are closed, so you don’t have to get the kids up and out the door.

But the regular sleep each night has allowed our bodies to rest and rejuvenate, and helped us feel more relaxed each day.

Eating a healthful diet has also been key to maintaining our sanity… and our waistlines.

Sitting on the couch binging on ice cream and chips is not going to lift your spirits.

I know some food is hard to come by these days, but if you can prepare wholesome meals that include fruits, veggies and lean meats, you’re going to have more energy to deal with the stress of the situation.

We’ve also been making sure to get some activity in each day.

It’s no secret that exercise boosts your mood and eases stress.

And that’s something we could all use right now.

Most gyms are closed or limiting the number of people they’ll let inside.

I wouldn’t recommend being in a sweaty crowded gym right now even if yours is open. Just not worth the risk.

Thankfully, a number of fitness companies are offering classes online for everyone.. not just members.

Kickboxing, aerobics, yoga, even ballet classes are available.

And, best of all, they’re free.

If you don’t want to do anything too structured, getting outside to walk is a great option.

Each day, Karen and I take several walks around the neighborhood with Ellie.

I don’t know about your dog, but Ellie is loving having us home all the time.

More pets. More attention. And, more walks each day.

Karen and I appreciate the walks just as much.

They give us a chance to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy a little sunshine on our faces.

And, if we see a neighbor, we wave, but still maintain a safe distance.

(This is the one part of the walk Ellie doesn’t like because she wants to go over and say hello to everyone.)

Speaking of dogs, if you don’t have one, consider fostering or adopting one now, if you have the means.

Dogs are natural stress-relievers.

I couldn’t imagine getting through this pandemic without Ellie by my side.

Since you’re home all the time now, consider adding a fur baby to the mix.

There are so many dogs and cats that need homes, and we could all use some extra company these days.

What have you been doing to stay sane and get through your day?

Head on over to my blog and leave me a note. I’d love to hear what’s working for you. After all, we’re all in this together.

About Jeff Reagan, Editor, Jeff Reagan's Daily Health Newsletter for Conservatives

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