It can be difficult to juggle the stress of the holiday season now in addition to rising cases across the country. As you prepare your fall and winter travel plans, it’s important to relax and not let all of the stress impact your immune system.
The phrase “these are unprecedented times” is brought up frequently since COVID-19 became a part of our lives. But the truth of the matter is that very few people have experienced a worldwide pandemic of this scale. That inexperience can lead to stress and depression, which can have negative effects on your physical health and increase your risk of being infected by COVID-19. Keeping up with your mental health during these times is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Understanding the signs of stress can help you take the next steps to care for yourself or others.
What Are The Signs?
Accepting the fact that there are events you cannot control during these times may be hard, but may also help you on the path to lowering your stress. Some folks worry about not being in control of the current situation. This worry can lead to other stressful habits such as spending too much time reading headlines, constantly scrolling through news articles and comment sections on social media, and a lack of sleep and/or appetite. Additional signs of stress due to COVID-19 can include:
- Fear of you or a loved one being infected
- The guilt of not fulfilling your duties such as working or helping others
- Worry about losing income
- Increase in alcohol and/or drug intake
- The anxiety of being isolated or unable to see loved ones
- Fear of being labeled if you are infected
Since everyone handles situations differently, there may be additional stressors that are unique to you so please consult a physician or therapist if you feel your stress levels are too high. It’s also important to understand that it’s normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, and scared during these times, but constant feelings can lead to a decline in mental and physical wellbeing. Coping with this stress can feel overwhelming and feel like it’s never going to end. Taking steps to alleviate the situation can help you feel better and allows you to focus on your physical health.
Coping With The Stress
Knowing you’re not going through this alone can help you cope with the stress. If you do feel isolated, call or text your friends and family members to check on them and make sure they’re doing okay. Keeping these connections can help you know how they’re physically doing along with keeping you company for a little while. Extending this kindness to strangers can also help lower your stress as well. Studies show that helping others raises dopamine levels which makes you feel happier. This “helpers high” can come from assisting elderly neighbors with grocery shopping, picking up medications, and other essentials.
If you are not showing signs of COVID-19 or haven’t tested positive, taking a walk outside and reconnecting with nature allows you to get exercise in a relaxing environment. While outside, it’s important to still keep a distance of 6-feet between you and others and wear a cloth face-covering in public. Additional steps you can take to improve your mental wellbeing and lower your stress can include:
- Keep up with daily routines with a schedule and task list
- Limit screen time. Spending too much time on social media and websites can increase anxiety
- Limit news intake about COVID-19 to only accurate, reliable sources such as the CDC
- Eat healthy meals, and drink plenty of water
- Be mindful and considerate of others
- Practice breathing exercises for relaxation
- Find a mediation that works for you
If you plan on traveling for the holidays, encourage your family members to take a Standard PCR Viral COVID-19 test. Known as the “gold standard” for testing, the PCR test identify an active infection with results in 3-5 business days. Knowing if you or a family member have an active infection or are cleared for travel can help you make a plan to keep yourself and your family safe this holiday season. Visit the CDC’s page on Holiday Celebrations during COVID-19 if you need more information on how to stay safe this fall and winter.
Understanding that we’re all going through this together can help ease the feeling of isolation and can help build compassion for others. At ARCpoint, we’ve been here for you and our communities since the beginning and will be here throughout. With convenient testing options available, you can get the information you need to help you cope with the stress. Whether it’s finding out if you have an active infection with COVID, were infected at some point, or need more information on your general health, we have testing solutions for you. Find your local ARCpoint Labs and get the peace of mind you need to help cope with the stress.