The pandemic years 2020 and 2021 have taught us that there is no end to uncertainty, and every family has a difficult story to tell. There have been many theories, speculations and situations, none of which can help when suffering from extensive stress, anxiety or depression. Although it is helpful to keep up to date, too much information can lead to panic attacks or mood swings. We are fighting not just the disease, but also the fear that it causes. Here are some tips to help manage the stress, depression and anxiety in any situation.
Relax: Whether a professional or managing the household, working from home or going to work, it is important to take care of our mental health. We should make an effort to find time every day to unwind, relax and do something that we enjoy. Be aware that the heart also needs to relax. It cannot remain in a contracted state for long periods of time, it needs to rest: contract – relax, contract – relax, and so on. We could do anything from watching a favorite show, writing, crafting, meditation, mindfulness practice, reading, or even just lying down for a half hour. It doesn’t matter what we do, it is more important that we don’t judge ourself and take time off from excessive thinking. Do not feel guilty about not doing more or being productive. We all are adapting to the new lifestyle, so it is important to do things that will improve our mental health.
Exercise: Exercise can help release stress and free up energy. It can also be a great excuse to get out of the house and go for a walk. We also have the option of not leaving the house and doing yoga, dancing to a YouTube workout in the living room, gardening or finding other creative ways of getting some steps in. For example, we could go up and down the stairs several times per day, playing with kids or some physical activity that could help release some tension and stress. In case we have stopped playing some sport due to pandemic, this is the right time to start again. Exercise and any form of physical activities release endorphins, which are hormones that help relieve pain, reduce stress and improve our sense of well-being.
Connect With People: Many people find this one of the most difficult things to deal with. After the phase where we were interacting with our friends and families via Zoom calls, Facetime, etc., we may find it difficult to communicate with people in person effectively. It’s never been easier to communicate via video and phone. When feeling isolated, we can reach out and make a call to a friend. Although it can seem daunting to reach out to someone, it is worth it. The connection that we make with them will be a great help. Anyone with deep anxiety and stress should have a support network. Do not hesitate to approach friends for help by writing or emailing to reach out if we aren’t feeling up to speaking.
Mindfulness: Although mindful meditation may take a while to master, it is a very useful tool. We might also find that a hobby such as puzzle-solving or baking makes it easier to be mindful, which is about being present in the moment and thinking positively. Thinking about the present, letting go of the past and not worrying what the future brings will help relieve stress that has been building up for a long time. Mindfulness allows us to pay attention to what is happening and push aside other thoughts. It can help to be present even if we are having a million thoughts per minute. It is not possible to be mindful by binge-watching TV shows. Make sure to set aside 10 minutes each day to practice it. We can also use it as a tool whenever needed. If we need help in practicing mindfulness, don’t hesitate to approach a professional, licensed practitioner for help.
An engaging social circle, exercising, relaxing, meditating and affirmative actions will help in dealing with stress, depression and anxiety. It will not be easy initially, but with determination and support, we will gain confidence in doing it ourself. If we feel the need, see a good doctor with reference from a reliable source.
Roman E. Finn, M.D. is a holistic and integrative practitioner of traditional medicine in modern ways. For consultations, call 201-291-0401 or visit citm-drfinn.com.