Who would have thought this is the kind of 2020 we would be experiencing? Most of us were so ready to be done with 2019 that we had no idea what we were in for. I suppose we should’ve been careful with what we wished for! The Universe definitely gave no signs to point to this madness and level of stress that 2020 and this pandemic brought with it. Yet here we are, wearing masks every time we leave the house, social distancing, and dealing with unknowns in almost every facet of our lives, especially when it comes to the question of when do we get back some sense of normalcy.
We all deal with stress and uncertainty in different ways, and it seems like every minute we face nonstop news reports, updated health statistics and social media posts with the intention of keeping us updated. But the reality is that spattered within the messages are also panic-inducing reports! So while it’s important that we stay informed, it’s also important to limit our “news” consumption because our psyche can only take so much at a time!
For most of us, we’ve learned the hard way what it means to live daily with stress during this pandemic and the older you get, the more our body seems to find the most creatively and discomforting ways to express just how much it appreciates (not!) you accumulating the crazy amount of stress that you do and how much it enjoys the fact that you either don’t know how to manage it or you just neglect to.
However, reality hit hard as “shelter in place/working from home” turned into doing, well, everything at home. The combination of self-isolation paired with a lockdown of entire cities has ripped away any sense of normalcy in our lives, and many of us are struggling to deal with these changes on an emotional level.
But then again, either way, the end result is the same and your body takes it out on you! Well, let me not talk for anyone besides me. My body, namely my lower back stays mad at me and lets me know it all too often. not managing it very well! And I don’t have to tell most folks just how that feels cause most of you over 40 folks already know what I’m talkin about!
The accumulated stresses of everyday life can damage your health in irreversible ways — from early aging to heart problems to long-term disability.
Some people believe stress makes them perform better. But that’s rarely true. Research consistently shows the opposite — that stress usually causes a person to make more mistakes.
Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. The key is being able to recognize common stress symptoms, because this can give you a jump on managing them. What many of us fail to acknowledge is the fact that stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
If you have stress symptoms, taking steps to manage your stress can have numerous mental and physical health benefits. Explore stress management strategies, such as:
- Regular physical activity
- Nike Training Club– (offers free workouts)
- Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi or getting a massage
- Keeping a sense of humor
- Socializing with family and friends (be open to joining/organizing online gatherings)
- Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music
- Take a dance class (there are lots of free online classes on YouTube)
- Take a walk/hike
- Test out new recipes
My hope is that those who haven’t been conscious of their own resilience will discover it in themselves and will develop it through their experiences of pulling through the COVID-19 pandemic without being physically or emotionally beyond repair.