Living Safer: 3 Ways to Lower Stress in this Pandemic
Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 at 3:52 pm
By: Anastasia Allmon, Attorney with Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP
1. Manage Expectations, Be Kind to Yourself
People are now working where they live and living where they work. Some intend to return to the office once the pandemic is over, but many may remain remote. Everyone who is used to going into an office every morning has to figure out and adapt to working from home, one day at a time. Each new home “office” most likely presents its own challenges – whether it’s small children, pets, loud neighbors, etc., it’s probably safe to say everybody is doing the work-from-home thing a little differently – while simultaneously trying to manage twenty other things that demand immediate attention. The volume of emails, messages, and Zoom calls has reached a whole new level during the pandemic. Perhaps there is now an assumption that everyone is (or should be) in front of a computer at all times, especially those working remotely – and as such, it seems like everyone who needs something needs it immediately, and every email requires (and expects) an instant response.
Coupled with all the social restrictions during this pandemic, it is easy to get buried in work and forget to break away from the screen every now and then – endless emails and notifications can become overwhelming and make it hard to take a break. However, in this strange new and inherently stressful reality, maintaining at least some normalcy helps lower the stress – it’s okay to take breaks, go for a walk, take thirty minutes to exercise, and it’s important to manage others’ expectations of what working from home should look like – the emails, messages, and the ever-growing to-do list will still (and always) be there, but getting rid of the stress in trying to keep up and speed up will undoubtedly play a huge role in lowering the overall level of stress during this already difficult time.
2. Try Something New
The pandemic not only changed the way people work, but it has also affected people’s ways of relieving stress. Social distancing requirements and other health and safety concerns have prevented many from being able to engage in hobbies and other activities, which were previously a part of daily life and provided opportunities to relieve stress. It is not surprising that stress levels are on the rise, especially factoring in the sudden sharp decrease in social interaction and physical contact. Therefore, now is the perfect time to try doing something new – take advantage of the outdoors, go on a bike ride, find a hiking trail, learn to play tennis or golf, pick up gardening, or learn how to cook or play an instrument. Finding new or creative stress outlets and being able to do something enjoyable while still observing social distancing will undoubtedly bring back a sense of normalcy and further help lower overall stress levels.
3. Be Intentional About Staying Connected
Despite all the technology that made it possible and easy for people to stay connected while remaining physically apart, it is somehow equally as easy to lose touch with others and become disconnected from loved ones. In managing all the stressors brought about by this pandemic, it is often difficult to carve out time to call or Facetime a friend or family member just to check in, and it is also easy to get distracted and simply forget to do so.
However, it seems that the longer people allow themselves to be disconnected from each other, the easier it becomes to continue down that path, and as that distance grows, it can quickly develop into feelings of loneliness, isolation, and additional stress and anxiety. Therefore, during this time of having to be physically distant from others, it is important to be intentional about maintaining relationships and social connections with friends and family. Setting a goal to put in the effort to call, text, or Facetime loved ones will ensure that no relationships are lost and will keep away the stress that comes with feeling disconnected or alone, especially during this uncertain and difficult time.