Managing Stress During The COVID-19 Pandemic

March 23, 2021


Managing Stress During The COVID-19 Pandemic


We’re quickly rounding the bend toward spring, and that’s some of the best news we’ve heard in a while. After a year of being cooped up and managing the major shift that was 2020, exhaustion and fatigue are setting in. There’s now a growing light that’s giving us hope, and we’re grateful. But maybe like us you’ve been so busy this past year that you haven’t taken enough time to reflect on how you’re doing. Well, now is the perfect time. 


Look Back to Move Forward 

Clearly, the pandemic is still with us. We’re seeing signs of hope but none of us will soon forget the long, dark, cooped up days of winter. And if we saw loss in our family or community, these were especially tough times. 


It’s worth it to stop and ask yourself, “Did I just manage and survive?” The answer for most of us could be affirmative – pandemic coping mechanisms aren’t second nature. But by looking back we can hopefully glean some wisdom that can help us as we come out of this ordeal.


As we glanced across the year we homed in on a few fundamental practices and habits that are good to work into our lives, no matter the situation: 


  • Acknowledge the stress. Taking time to step back and identify precisely why you’re anxious can help you find direct ways to deal with it. Or it can give you the freedom to admit that there’s nothing you can do, and let it go. Picking these battles is tough and takes intentionality, but it can be done and is one of the best ways to lighten your burden.


  • Work at mindfulness. The practice of mindfulness can get into lots of different territories, but we’re referring to checking in with yourself on a regular basis and evaluating what you’re feeling or experiencing. Just the act of allowing yourself to fully feel what might otherwise be glossed over can be a needed release that can help in your day to day and in your most important relationships. 


  • Tailor solutions. Feeling better and dealing with stress means different things for everyone. But whatever your outlet is, make time for it. That could mean getting outdoors for exercise, even when the weather isn’t ideal, or feeding your newfound love of gardening. Maybe holing up with a good book or puzzle or working through new recipes is your idea of chill time. Finding new ways to stay connected with family and friends is a challenge, but it could be just what you need to feel that missing sense of community. Being proactive and tackling that backburner project could give you the sense of control you’ve lost. Whatever it is that feeds your soul, see if you can find a creative way to meet those needs.


  • Prioritize health and wellness. Health is important, and this pandemic has proven that on countless levels. Keeping up healthy eating, sleeping, and exercise habits will help to keep your body at a stable baseline, on even footing and ready to stand up to stress. On the other hand wellness covers more ground than vital signs, stats, and numbers. It incorporates all aspects of your life that keep you grounded, engaged, and hopeful. Health and wellness work together and help you to handle what life throws your way.


  • Think of others. It’s age-old advice for a reason – it’s true. When we spend time thinking of and helping others we are less likely to dwell on our own stress and anxiety. This is no replacement for mindfulness, but it can be a great compliment to those times where we just need a jolt of wellbeing. Even the smallest kind gestures feel huge right now, and can boost both the giver and receiver.


  • Give yourself permission. You need to hear this, listen up: you’re allowed to not be ok. Life has shifted to the point that you might not even recognize your pre-pandemic life. What you need to be healthy and well could have changed too. Allowing yourself room to take care of you will help to make sure that when we all come out of this dark winter, you’ll be ready to grow.


  • Reach out for help. We know this advice gets thrown around a lot, but we’re serious. If you’ve sat with your emotions and stressors and given yourself me-time and you are still feeling overwhelmed and under-equipped, it could be time to talk to someone about it. It’s just another form of self-care and healthcare and can make all the difference.


Now that you’ve lived this abnormal life for a year and worked through things you may have never experienced before, you could have built up your mental and emotional strength and even boosted resiliency. And those resources can help you make it through other tough situations. So as we’re all waiting for sunny days, birdsong, and blooms, and as we enter this season of rebirth and renewal, let’s take stock of how we’re doing. And let’s spend time prioritizing wellness and investing in ourselves in 2021.


Althans Cares

We hope that these suggestions will help you to work through whatever it is that you’re feeling right now. But if you reach the point where sadness or anxiety is having a negative impact on your day-to-day life, know that there are resources at the ready. Turning to your support network, trusted doctor, or utilizing the statewide 24/7 hotline that was created to help ease emotional stress during the pandemic are all positive first steps. And know that we are here if ever you need us.