In the past year, many people have experienced significant stress from the Covid pandemic, financial difficulties, political turmoil, social isolation and disagreements between friends and family. The effects of these on our mental health have been very significant. For example, some of the common symptoms of stress people may be seeing this year include:
Feeling overly agitated and restless
Noticing an increased heart rate and/or difficulty breathing
Experiencing greater fatigue and/or exhaustion
Difficulty concentrating and/or finding motivation
Of course, you always want to have any health-related concerns checked out by a medical professional.
Some ways to deal with the stress of the current situations include:
Taking care of your body – When cooped up at home, its often easy to forget to take care of ourselves. Decide to do healthy activities and have a routine that will help you feel mentally and physically well. Getting enough sleep is critical so that your body can recharge. Eating healthy and exercising are other ways to boost your physical and mental health.
Connecting with others – Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend and family member, when possible. Maintain healthy relationships and build a strong support system.
When under stress, take frequent breaks – Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Do activities you enjoy including exercising when possible.
Avoid Information that overwhelms you – If you feel yourself getting consistently agitated, angry, fearful, or emotional after watching, listening or reading an information source, then just avoid it. Take frequent breaks from the news. limiting your information sources to fact-based, reputable sources, like national news outlets. Cable news and Social media such as Twitter or Facebook groups are often targeting people with specific views, beliefs or biases. They will seek to emotionally manipulate their intended audience. Consider taking a few days for yourself to relax and reset by Logging out of your social media accounts and take a break from watching and reading news stories.
A recent study found that people who spent time watching COVID news, and also checking a multiple news sites (radio, television, and newspapers) frequently had greater emotional distress. Another study found that watching disasters on television, like 9/11, can cause feelings of trauma. Indeed, many people had PTSD symptoms from watching 9/11 coverage for several years afterward.
Don’t be afraid to step away from uncomfortable conversations – If the conversation makes you feel uncomfortable, try to change the subject or just quietly go somewhere else. Also recognize there are healthy ways to deal with differences of opinions.
Seek help when needed – If stress is impacting activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member, counselor, or doctor, or you contact the Washington Mental Health Crisis line
Hypnotherapy can also be highly effective for managing stress, calming worries, easing fears, and quieting emotional turmoil. With hypnosis, you can learn to relax your entire body and calm your mind, developing new pathways and emotional responses to various triggers. Hypnosis allows you to put aside emotional and physical distractions as you explore the issues that keep you in an emotionally uncomfortable state.