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Tips to deal with stress during coronavirus

Tips to deal with stress during coronavirus

31 July 2020

The coronavirus is affecting everyone’s lives – both home and work. The unfamiliar and unsettling situation we now find ourselves in creates additional pressures and is causing many of us to feel stressed.

We all respond to change differently but our current circumstances are not something that any of us have experienced before. It’s completely normal to feel concerned, confused, scared or even angry during these times – this is our body’s way of responding to a unique situation.

Stress can make us feel tired, tense and overwhelmed. The combination of physical and emotional reactions to the situation can change our normal behaviour – we are less patient, become snappy or even angry. This is because stress triggers our body into ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mode to prepare us to either stay and deal with a threat or run away to safety; adrenaline starts pumping, our heart beats faster and our blood pressure rises.

The problem is that our bodies are not built to maintain the fight, flight or freeze for long. If we don’t do anything to stop this, we increase the risk of damaging our long-term health, so it’s really important that we find ways to get stress levels down and in turn, build our personal resilience.

There are lots of things you can do to help lower your stress levels by looking after your mental health and wellbeing during these changeable times:

1. Take five and breathe – Practicing deep breathing exercises are proven to help when we’re stressed. You don’t have to be spiritual to try mindfulness and meditation. If you’re new to meditation, there are many great apps out there like Headspace and Calm to get you started.

2. Routine – Although you may not be going in to work, it’s still important to have a routine and maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthily, getting enough rest, prioritising sleep and doing exercise in line with Government guidelines.

3. Keep connected – Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing. Whether over the phone, via messaging, email or video calls, talking to others can help you develop a balanced view of the situation and make you both feel better.

4. Just get the facts – Limit worry, by reducing the time you and your family spend watching or listening to media coverage – as this can feel overwhelming. Try to rely on trusted sources only, we recommend watching the daily Government briefings at 5pm, so you know the latest advice, but then switch off and do something you enjoy after.

5. Tune out – Get lost in something you enjoy – whether that’s watching a series/film, reading a good book, listening to a podcast/music, DIY or learning something new. Tuning into something else gives your mind a chance to rest.

6. Do something that makes you sweat – We might not be able to get to the gym, but that doesn’t mean we can’t exercise. Exercise releases endorphins in your body, giving you a natural high – there are lots of workouts online that the kids can get involved with too – any exercise will help!

7. Focus on the little things – In changeable times it’s important to focus on the little things that make you feel happy. Each day, take time to reflect and pick out the three things you are grateful for that day, this will help you feel in the moment and focus on the positives.

8. Be kind to yourself and each other – We’re probably not used to spending so much time together, cooped up in our homes. Remember we will all have good days and bad days or just need our own space from time to time.

9. Keep your mind active – Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws or drawing and painting. You can also learn something new. There are lots of YouTube videos or sites like Udemy where you can learn new skills. Find something that works for you.

10. Be aware of your emotions (feelings) – Our thoughts influence our feelings and affect how we behave. It’s good to acknowledge that some things are outside our control right now. Make a list of everything that is worrying you. Review the list – try not to worry about what you can’t change but put your efforts into what you can control or change.

If you’re struggling, you can chat with Ben online or call their helpline on 08081 311 333.

About Ben

Ben exists to provide support for life to the people of the automotive industry and their families. Their coronavirus hub provides a wealth of advice and support on specific areas of health and wellbeing that may be affected due to the current pandemic.

If you would like to find out more about how Ben can help you, visit ben.org.uk, chat with them online here or call their helpline on 08081 311 333.