We’re living in a difficult time. Whether you have symptoms or are worried about the pandemic’s impact on your community, you may find yourself under an abnormal amount of stress. Try these tips to help yourself stay both mentally and physically healthy until this challenge has passed.
It’s a well-established fact that drinking water can help reduce your stress levels. A dehydrated body tends to produce more cortisol, which is one of the hormones directly responsible for a feeling of stress.
However, hydration is even more important if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Staying hydrated is at the top of the CDC’s care recommendations. Fevers and mucus production can both pull moisture from your body, and you need that moisture to boost your immune system if you’re going to recover.
So whether or not you have COVID-19, go ahead and pour yourself a tall glass of water, juice, or tea. Avoid drinking alcohol; it’s incredibly dehydrating and can also directly compromise your immune system.
Rest and Recuperate
While you’re locked down on quarantine, make sure you get as much rest as possible. Sleeping improves your immune system and increases your pain tolerance. Adults need at least 7-9 hours of sleep a day. If you’re sick, you might want to sleep from 9-12 hours depending on the severity of your symptoms.
When you’re not sleeping, spend your time doing relaxing activities that help you feel rested. Listen to calming music, do some gentle exercises, or watch that movie your friends have been recommending. Don’t worry about being productive right now; you’re not expected to perform at your best.
Take a Break from Headlines
The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t going to end in a few days, so there’s no point in keeping up with the news. In fact, watching the 24/7 coverage can make the disease seem more prevalent than it actually is – something that’s terrible for your current stress levels.
Headline stress disorder refers to a set of anxiety symptoms caused by interacting with upsetting clickbait and inflammatory news articles. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, turn off the news for a day or two. When you’re ready for an update, get your data directly from the CDC or your state government.
You might need to stay inside, but that doesn’t mean you need to be alone. Socialization is an important part of stress reduction and can help reduce depression or feelings of isolation. Take advantage of modern resources to engage with your community from a safe social distance.
Text messaging is one of the most accessible forms of communication. Try creating a group text with your family members or your friends from school. You can also use services like Discord, Skype, or Google Hangouts to set up group phone and video calls. Finally, remember that email is a great way to send a caring message – you just might not get an immediate response.
Everyone copes with stress differently. Now is a good time to pay attention to how different activities make you feel. Avoid things that make you anxious, and participate in activities that help you feel happy or relaxed.
Stay home, stay healthy, and stay relaxed. We’re all going to get through this, one step at a time.