When you hear about a new infectious disease spreading, you may feel stressed or afraid due to the uncertainty of this new threat. You may not even be considered at-risk for contracting or being fatally effected by the virus yet still the anxiety persists. These feelings of stress are a natural response to hearing about a highly contagious disease and are nothing to be ashamed of. However, despite how natural this response is, stress and anxiety can negatively impact your quality of life and physical health. The key to combating stress and anxiety is understanding where they stem from, how they affect our bodies, and how to cope with them in a healthy manner.
Virus containment initiatives and other changes to daily life due to Covid-19 affect everyone and the anxiety that stems from it is no different. Helping others with their stress and mental health can greatly benefit your own while also improving your community. During these uncertain times it is important to maintain a sense of community with those in our lives in order to reduce the added stress from the pandemic. Socializing and doing small activities like going for a walk can be great strategies to take your mind off of your anxiety and stress. Phone calls or video chats can help you and your loved ones feel socially connected, less lonely, and less isolated during the pandemic. Taking care of your friends and your family can be a great stress reliever, but it is important to remember to take care of your own mental health as well.
High levels of stress and anxiety have been known to lower your immune systems ability to fight off infection and sickness. Stress and anxiety don’t strictly affect your mental health but they also take a toll on your physical health as well. When you feel stressed, your heart rate accelerates and your blood pressure increases which overtime can cause or worsen existing health conditions. Since it is impossible to prevent stressful events such as the Covid-19 pandemic from happening, the best approach to managing your health is to take care of both your emotional health as well as your physical health. Here we have a list of healthy ways to manage and cope with both day to day stress, as well as stress related to the pandemic:
Healthy ways to cope with stress
- Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19, Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
- Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
- Take care of your emotional health. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to new stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol and drug use.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.
People with pre-existing mental health conditions or substance use disorders may be particularly vulnerable during the pandemic due to the added stress and fear of the situation. Mental health conditions (such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia) affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior in a way that influences their ability to relate to others and function each day. Here at AMSCO we understand how difficult this year has been for everyone. We encourage all of our customers to make sure they take care of their physical and mental health during these difficult times. AMSCO seeks to provide our customers and the medical community with any support and guidance they may need as we continue to improve the healthcare industry.