Stress can often be one of those things that creeps up on you. Before you know it, you are feeling tired, worn out, irritable and enveloped by a sense of melancholy. Change is normally stressful and, in these exceptional times of global uncertainty, even more so. Coronavirus is impacting all of us. The world as we know it has changed and we are dealing with the fallout in our personal and professional lives. Stress can make existing problems worse and lead to mental health issues. And because it can have such a negative impact on our wellbeing, we need to be able to recognise it and understand what we can do to manage it. So, as we come to the end of Stress Awareness Month, we thought we’d share some things we’ve found useful in dealing with stress.
Signs to look out for:
- Problems with sleeping
- Feeling irritable
- Lack of energy
- Changes in sex drive
- Overeating or undereating
- Social withdrawal
There are steps we can take to help ourselves during lockdown:
- Getting into a routine is very important; with everything changing around you it is good to have something you can control and that will keep you engaged. An ongoing and absorbing activity can help provide something you can do regularly to alleviate stress. Maybe now’s the time to try and read that book, write that story, knit that jumper – get creative!
- Maintaining contact with friends and family is important for you and for them. People have adapted to changing circumstances and found creative ways to keep in contact. Try a family quiz night on Zoom, a virtual book club, virtual workouts with friends, HouseParty games… at Makara we have introduced a virtual pub towards the end of the week, so we all have some time out to socialise.
- Physical exercise really does help relieve stress and gets those happy endorphins flowing. Just a small amount every day will make a noticeable difference to how you are feeling.
- A simple breathing exercise is worth practising if you feel stressed. You can do it anywhere, anytime, lying down or sitting up. Take a full deep breath through your nose, hold it for a count of three and release slowly through your mouth. Repeat ten times. You will feel more relaxed.
BE WELL AND CARRY ON
Remember there is lots of support out there. Here are just a few useful sources of information:
- Expert advice and staying-at-home tips from the NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/
- Listen to meditations, get expert advice, and more – https://www.virusanxiety.com/
- Support groups, helplines, webinars and blogs and other resources – https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/coronanxiety-support-resources/
- Stress management techniques – https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coping-with-coronavirus
- A free toolkit with resources and tips – https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/resources/coronavirus-resources-for-mental-health-and-wellbeing-toolkit-1/
- Phone support with the Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/support-and-information/if-youre-having-difficult-time/if-youre-worried-about-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak/