We’re now well into our new lives shaped by precautionary measures to overcome the spread of COVID-19. It’s very difficult to imagine anyone who is not affected by stress as a result of it. You may experience stress at the thought of a pandemic itself; stress about the unknown; stress about protecting yourself and keeping your loved ones safe, or stress about layoffs and money; the list is endless, and highly dependent on your unique situation.
While there are many things out of your control, changing the way you think can significantly reduce or eliminate many of the stresses you are experiencing. Here are my three tips for managing stress during the COVID-19 pandemic to help you and your employees during this challenging time.
- Focus on what’s within your control. It may be easier said than done, but your mental health will greatly benefit by focusing on the here and now. Instead of worrying about potential problems, such as layoffs or sickness, focus on what you can control. I recommend creating a list of all the things you hope to accomplish to help you prioritize. When you complete a task, check it off your list. This will provide you with the motivation to remain productive. Additionally, ensure you are staying informed with factual information. If you find yourself worrying about “what could be”, practice mindfulness. There are many benefits to this technique including stress reduction, reduced rumination and less emotional reactivity.
- Think about what’s really important. At this point in our lives, we have a collective responsibility as Canadians to ensure we are keeping each other safe. As a result of COVID-19, we’ll likely have to miss special occasions and celebrations, or delay other important events we planned. If we remind ourselves that these are only minor and temporary setbacks, we can shift our mentalities from being negative to positive. Instead, focus on setting smaller goals you know you can achieve and be kind to yourself.
- Find an aid that works for you. As individuals, we respond to things differently. Since there are a variety of techniques we can use to aid in our stress relief, choose one that works for you. You may consider a physical coping strategy such as exercise or healthy eating, or a psychological one like talk therapy. You may also want to reduce the time you spend on social media— or turn off notifications for your mobile device entirely. No matter what you choose, it doesn’t have to be complex and you can benefit from stress relief quite quickly.
During these times, I encourage you to take things day-by-day and remember that you can take some level of comfort knowing that, no matter how many times you hear it, “we are all in this together”. If you or your employees are looking to talk to someone to help manage stress, I suggest reaching out to your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider today.