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Managing Stress in a Pandemic

The current state of the world has left people with lots of stress, with most of us adopting a stay-home lifestyle and practicing social distancing. Fortunately, there are many ways we can keep those anxieties at bay.


Help others: Spreading positivity to others is a great way to boost your own mood as well. If someone in your family or community has trouble getting out, see if you can help them by running essential errands. If you’re healthy and able, the Yuma Community Food Bank needs volunteers to help package food for those in need. Food donations are also welcome. You can visit www.yumafoodbank.org for more information on how to help out.


Reach out: Even though face-to-face isn’t an option for many, socializing is important for your mental well-being. Now is a great time to catch up with loved ones via email, text messages, video chat or letters. Social media is a wonderful tool to help us stay connected, though of course it’s okay if you feel the need to log off.


Help yourself: Taking care of your body is another great way to take care of your mind. The gym being closed doesn’t mean you need to stop your exercise routine, although you may need to change it slightly. Stay active by going outside for a run in your neighborhood or by pulling up workout videos on YouTube. If you don’t have a set of dumbbells at home, use partially filled milk jugs instead. Don’t forget to stretch afterwards.


Meditate: Set aside some time every day to meditate. Relax into a comfortable position and listen to some light music or just to the sounds of the room around you. Consider listening to a guided meditation video or practicing yoga in your living room. Mindful breathing exercises are a relaxing way to help immediately calm your nerves as well.


Me-time: With all of this time on your hands, take the opportunity to engage in some of your favorite hobbies. Read that book you’ve been putting off, binge-watch that series you’ve been meaning to catch, finish that video game you haven’t had the time for, put together that puzzle that’s been sitting in your closet. Whatever brings you happiness, set aside some time to do it.


Stay informed: While it is important that we stay informed about what is going on in the world around us, it is also important to discern what is too much. If the news is making you feel anxious, limit the amount of time you spend reading/viewing it daily, or ask a trusted friend or family member to relay the important, relevant bits to you as needed.


Take care: We can’t always control what happens, but we can control how we react. Be smart, be wise, and don’t forget to be kind – to others and to yourself.

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