COVID-19 Stress and Anxiety Management Tips for Your Team
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our lives for the near future — as a nation and throughout the world, we anticipate the next steps in a completely unprecedented environment.
With the constant flood of breaking information, it’s easy to let anxiety or stress affect our mental and physical well-being. And it can affect your loved ones, your team or your small business in general. The cycle can self-perpetuate, leading to more confusion, anxiety and fear that’s neither productive nor helpful.
If you’re having trouble breaking out of a negative thought loop, there are strategies you can use to make yourself (and your team) feel better now. Here are six methods to manage COVID-19 stress and anxiety right now.
Limit Media Time
Reading and watching news updates can help you stay up-to-date, but too much can contribute to higher levels of stress and anxiety. Additionally, the constant barrage of negative information can add to a feeling of helplessness in an already challenging time.
If you’re having trouble managing the flow of overwhelming news stories, take that as a sign to turn off the media for a while. You don’t need to log off entirely — you can still stay informed while prioritizing your mental health:
- Limit your sources: Use one or two trusted news outlets to provide you with the important information.
- Turn off news story notifications: Push notifications make it seem like everything is urgent.
- Consider using a timer: Give yourself a time limit so that you don’t go overboard reading too much negative news.
Reach Out to Your Network
Social distancing might be here for now, but technology makes staying in touch it easier than ever. Break the negative cycle of stress and anxiety with friendly, lighthearted conversation.
Connect on a regular basis with people in your network, whether it’s a quick call, video chat or text. You’re probably aware of common video platforms, like Marco Polo, FaceTime or Google Hangouts, but these free apps, games and services can help you have fun from a distance:
- Netflix Party: Chrome browser extension that syncs a Netflix session with a remote group.
- Airtime: Android or iOS app with video chat that lets you to watch YouTube, listen to Spotify and more.
- Watch2Gether: Browser-based video or audio player with chat room.
- Drawful 2: Sketch out fun and crazy prompts, and your components guess the answer. Available on Jackbox.tv and other platforms.
- Mario Kart Tour: Smartphone game with multiplayer option for iOS and Android.
Help Wherever You Can
Although you might feel isolated and alone right now, COVID-19 truly affects us all. Helping others can give you a sense of satisfaction and help take your mind off the situation at hand. As a small business owner, you may have resources, food or supplies available to you that can help others in a time of crisis.
Make a point to reach out to your work team, as well. Provide reassurance or assistance wherever possible. Contact people you know who may be in need, even if it’s just for a friendly check-in.
If you’re able and willing, reach out to local charities that may need specific supplies or organizations like these helping the COVID crisis.
Exercise is essential for lowering stress and staying healthy, but depending on where you live, it may be much harder to achieve during the shelter-at-home. Although any kind of physical activity can help reduce stress, one type of exercise is shown to be more effective in handling stress at the source. Autoregulatory exercises, like yoga, deep breathing or meditation, can help you refocus your mind and make you more aware of the negative thought patterns that cause stress and anxiety.
Stay Hydrated and Well-Nourished
Just like exercise, a good diet and proper hydration are more important now than ever to manage stress and anxiety. You can still eat well if you’re staying at home — plant and regrow these foods from your own garden. Food delivery services may still be available in your area. Before you venture out, try to call local stores to see if they have your item(s). You may also want to ask about delivery options, or look for stores in your neighborhood with curbside pickup services.
Update Your Environment
Your surroundings can easily affect your mood and stress level, even though you might be comfortable at home. Take the time to rearrange your desk for success or start that DIY home project. You can also reduce stress and anxiety levels by reducing clutter. Cleaning your surroundings can help you regain a sense of control. Or doing something as simple as lighting a candle can change your mood — aromatherapy can help you manage stress, anxiety and more.
If you need additional help: