The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 to be a pandemic on March 12, 2020. The size and unpredictable nature of this global event can lead to feelings of uncertainty and fear, and can bring up emotions like shock, confusion, frustration, and worry. Not to mention the stress related to the economic consequences of the virus, there are very real impacts on the mental well-being of Chicagoans, Americans, and humans the world over. Now more than ever, it is important to understand stress, it's impacts and the methods for effective stress management.
In addition to bringing the warmer days of Spring, every April marks Stress Awareness Month. Health organizations across the world take the time to educate and train on stress, it’s impacts and how to effectively manage it. There are several types of stress that people may face at different times in their lives. The everyday stresses of jobs and family are the most common. The stress of a sudden change such as a job loss, illness, or divorce. Lastly, the type of stress that is most concerning, traumatic stress such as a major illness, an accident or a tragic death of a loved one. Covid-19 is impacting us all in different ways but there is no doubt that everyone is experiencing stress related to the health crisis. Most people are working from home while also educating their kids, many have lost jobs, and all are experiencing the global trauma. Below, we’ve outlined some helpful insights into managing and reducing stress.
According to Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center, it is important to identify the natural response to stress. “Knowing the type of stress response can help determine the best coping strategies…” Consider the stress-responses outlined below:
Sometimes, the most challenging part of tackling stress is identifying ways to talk about it. This is true in today's climate as well as during any typical workday. There are a lot of different ways to address your stress and many of them can also be used safely from home. Consider the coping mechanisms suggest by the team at Columbia:
Just like routines have changed when it comes to work and play, strategies for reducing stress also need to adjust to meet the new reality. Below are some tips for coping with stress before it gets out of control, all of which can be done safely while maintaining social distance.
While there isn’t a one size fits all solution for effective stress management, some combination of these strategies may help to reduce stress levels.