We’re all feeling slightly higher levels of stress than usual this time of year between the normal holiday-related pressure and the stress of a pandemic sweeping the country and the world. But, know you’re not alone. Times are uncertain and we’re all living through an experience that none of our living relatives have ever tackled, so feeling stressed is a natural reaction. Thankfully, there are some great coping mechanisms that you can try to ease your body and your mind. Here are some of our tips on how to calm your nerves this time of year.
Understand That Anxiety Is Normal
Before you start to feel guilty for your heightened levels of stress, it’s important to remember that feeling anxious for any reason (or even no reason) is a totally normal experience. You are far from the only person experiencing pandemic-related anxiety. There is a lot of uncertainty around the virus and anxiety feeds on uncertainty, so know your feelings are valid and natural, but also recognize your anxiety does not control you. There are many methods for reducing feelings of stress that can help you lead a happier, healthier life.
Find Something Certain to Hold on to
Because the feeling of uncertainty can make us more anxious or stressed, it’s important to remind yourself of things that are certain — your family will be able to handle anything that happens, you’re healthy and you’re surrounded by people who love you. Whatever it is that will give you comfort, find one certain thing (or several things) to hold on to and remind yourself of it every day. Though we may not know when, we do know the pandemic will end. This is another certainty that can bring some level of comfort.
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Take Proper Precautions
Although the pandemic itself and many of the circumstances surrounding this experience are out of our control, the way you choose to react is completely within your control. Remind yourself of this and be sure to take the right, recommended precautions to give yourself some peace of mind, such as wearing a mask, limiting your exposure to family members who may be high-risk and avoiding crowded places. Though not required, wearing gloves at the grocery store can reduce your anxiety simply by knowing you’re protecting yourself.
Use CBD as a Calming Agent
If your stress is causing issues with your sleeping schedule, you may want to consider trying CBD oil for sleep. CBD is a natural compound derived from the hemp plant used to induce feelings of calm and relaxation. Many people use this holistic supplement as a way to get comfortable and relax before bed, making it easier to fall asleep. Unlike prescription medications and melatonin supplements, CBD oil does not exhibit feelings of grogginess, so you can wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and well-rested. If you’re new to CBD and want to know more about a CBD tincture for sleep, there’s plenty of information available online.
Step Away From the News
It can be almost addicting to watch the news as they report on big issues like COVID-19, but it’s important to keep in mind that news channels are businesses. Talking about the same issue over and over is a way to create content and get viewers tuned in. Of course, the news also acts as a way to spread important information, but at a certain point, it tends to spread more fear than comfort. If you feel anxious when you turn on the news in the evening, give yourself a break. Hanging on every word the newscaster says isn’t going to give you any breakthrough information about the pandemic. And, if there is a big breakthrough, you’ll hear about it. It is good to stay in the know so you’re aware of the latest safety guidelines, but try to avoid obsessively watching news as it may only increase your anxiety.
Journal Your Feelings
No matter what type of mental health issues you may be dealing with, journaling can help. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to self-reflect on your experiences and emotions, and it has been shown to boost your mood while reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. Make it a habit to journal once a day and express what you are going through. You can also choose to journal when your stress levels are high as it provides a channel for you to write and think through your thoughts, which often leads to a more rationalized understanding to soothe your stress.
Another hugely beneficial method for reducing stress is meditation. Even if you’re not feeling stressed, meditating is a great way to clear your mind, improve your focus and boost your productivity. You can use YouTube videos of guided meditations or one of the many available meditation apps. Even five minutes of a simple breathing exercise can make all the difference. Try meditating every morning or before bed every night.
Stick to a Routine
We keep focusing on the connection between uncertainty and stress. One way to eliminate some level of uncertainty from your everyday life is by creating a healthy routine that works for you. Make time for a nutritious breakfast before scheduling time for work and exercise. You should also implement some of these tips for a better bedtime routine to help your mind prepare itself for sleep.
If you find yourself feeling stressed out about the pandemic, take a deep breath and try implementing some of these tips and strategies into your everyday life. Although it may not feel like it, COVID-19 is temporary, and the pandemic will come to end at some point. Keep yourself calm by reminding yourself you are doing the best you can and you and your family will be okay at the end of this. Using other strategies like meditation, journaling or using CBD sleep oil can also promote feelings of relaxation and deepen your understanding of your emotions and experience. Just remember: You are not alone and you will get through.