5 Tips to Dial Down Stress
Illustration of a person feeling stressed
If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed right now, you are not alone. Others in your community and around the world are feeling much the same during this unprecedented time of uncertainty.
Try these 5 tips to help dial down the pandemic-related stress.
1. Limit your Exposure to Negative Messages
  • Limit how much time is spent poring over various news sources each day (online, televised, and print). Consider limiting yourself to just 10 minutes, twice a day.
  • The CDC is advising people to “take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media”. Overexposure to pandemic news can be upsetting, so please make sure to unplug!
2. Focus on the Facts-Not Fiction
  • Most people who contract COVID-19 will recover and the current data supports this fact.
  • Media outlets tend to sensationalize news to get your attention. Overexposure to this type of amped up messaging can increase your stress and anxiety.
  • There is a lot of misinformation. For news and updates, opt for reputable sources like the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You may also want to consult reliable local resources to keep up with the recommendations for your community.
3. Focus on What You Can Control
  • Pay attention to what is in your immediate control, particularly as it relates to your physical and mental health. You can choose what you eat, how much you move, who you talk to, and how you spend your time.
  • Take action to avoid feeling powerless. Focus on activities that boost your mood and well-being such as getting in regular exercise and good quality sleep.
  • Improve your resilience by making time to have fun, keeping to a regular daily routine, socializing online, and having a good work life balance.
4. Put Sleep First
  • When you are well-rested, you are better able to cope with stress. Focus on your sleeping habits and get adequate rest to stay healthy! Keep to your usual sleep schedule and avoid staying up late or sleeping in.
  • Try to detach from work, TV, and social media at least 2 hours before bedtime. Avoid screens while in bed as this can disrupt your sleep.
5. Practice Self Care
  • Find time to recharge and do activities that you enjoy. Revisit old hobbies and interests or take advantage of free online classes to learn a new skill (e.g. healthy cooking or baking, yoga, meditation, playing an instrument, etc.).
  • Connecting with nature and the outdoors can also be restorative. Take advantage of warmer weather and get outside to breathe in the fresh air, go on walks, and get some sunlight.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and stretching (even just a few minutes a day) can reduce your stress.
Keep in mind: “We are all doing the best we can”. These are unprecedented times and there is no perfect or ‘one size fits all’  approach to this situation. Give yourself credit for hanging in there and finding ways to survive and thrive during this challenging period!