Stress is a close companion to change. As changes occur, in personal or professional lives, uncertainty arises. Adjusting to changes is a challenge the Nation is currently being forced to face due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. All communities must learn effective coping mechanisms to manage stress in order to maintain healthy relationships, with ourselves and others.

With the recent changes in communities: practicing social distancing, working from home and staying at home as much as one can; one might be experiencing any combination of loneliness, stress, frustration, anxiety and uncertainty. Just know that all feelings are perfectly normal and mutually felt.

We are providing helpful tips that will assist in developing the skills necessary to recognize, control and manage stressful situations and those uncertain feelings. This includes:

  • Recognizing the warning signs of stress and thoughts of anxiety
  • Distinguishing between the different types of stress
  • Developing means for controlling and relieving stress
  • Specifying ways to maintain life balance 

RECOGNIZING THE WARNING SIGNS OF STRESS

Increased stress often results in increased productivity, up to a point, after which things can go rapidly downhill. However, that point or peak is uniquely individual, so one needs to be sensitive to the early warning signs that suggest stress overload. It is important to recognize the unique signals, since many signs are subtle and often overlooked.

Some warning signs include: muscles becoming tense, a rise in blood pressure, heart beating faster, job satisfaction decreases, feelings of relaxation decrease and feelings of anxiousness or worry increase. Repeated or constant stress is both physically and emotionally harmful to a human’s health. The health of the body is directly linked to the health of the mind. When the mind is healthy, the body can resist illness better. 

 

DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN DIFFERENT TYPES OF STRESS

Stress can be good or bad for the central nervous system. Too little stress may result in boredom, moderate levels of stress may actually improve your performance and efficiency and too much stress may cause an unproductive anxiety level. Stress is a physical and emotional reaction to pressure, change, fear or the unknown.

Given the current changes – social distancing, closure of non-essential businesses, canceled social gathering plans – one might be feeling like personal control has been taken away from them. Remember, attempting to control every situation will result in additional stress. However, the control of the reaction to the current situation will always be owned by the individual.

 

DEVELOPING MEANS FOR CONTROLLING AND RELIEVING STRESS

There are several means to develop coping strategies to control or relieve stress. The first step is to take charge and confront it. Ask yourself, what is causing you the most stress? Consider the following stress reduction techniques: Reflect on the changes, past, present and future; Reduce social obligations; Organize your workload; Say “No” when possible.

Release stress by getting in tune with the body, both physically and mentally. This can be done through several different exercises. The most accessible are the following:

  • Cardiovascular Exercise (jogging, walking, dancing, etc.): Any exercise that increases the heart rate is defined as a cardiovascular exercise. When the heart rate is accelerated, the body releases endorphins that create good feelings. This includes: an elevated and stabilized mood, improved sleep, improved self-esteem and anti-anxiety. 
  • Meditation: During this practice, the self is asked to quiet the mind by eliminating the constant stream of thoughts and focusing the attention. Over consistent daily practice (for as little as 5 minutes/day), one will start to take control of the stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health and achieve a great capacity for relaxation and peace. The ultimate goal is reaching a constant state of bliss.
  • Yoga: This practice reduces stress by lowering blood pressure and the heart rate by focusing on stretching and aligning the body. The yoga postures help ease physical discomfort that is caused by stress and anxiety.
  • Breathing Techniques: Controlled abdominal “belly breath” breathing exercises increases the supply of oxygen to the brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, therefore promotes a state of calmness.
  • Rest: Get enough rest – recommended 8 hours every night. The body needs a chance to recover from stress.

Positivity and optimism is a powerful way to manage stress or tension. Channeling that energy throughout the outlook on life will ease the stress. There are two simple practices for becoming an optimistic person:

 

  • Positive self-talk: “I can do it.” -“I’m grateful for the job I have.” -“Peace begins with me.”
  • Positive self-affirmations: “I trust my intuition and am always guided to make wise decisions.” – “I have the power to change my mind.”

 

SPECIFYING WAYS TO MAINTAIN LIFE BALANCE

Keep a healthy balance between family, friends and career responsibilities. Managing stress levels by practicing health boundaries is key so it does not interfere with interpersonal relationships, individual mental health and job performance.

Finding time to take care of yourself may be a challenge. The following ideas are good for improved health: eat healthy, exercise regularly, get an annual routine check-up, set aside certain hours of the day for self-reflection and quiet time, spend time outdoors to ground yourself. Achieving a comfortable balance is key to creating and maintaining a happy lifestyle that has minimal stress. Productivity will increase if time that is spent on work, others and yourself is balanced.

While we are staying at home with family, it’s important to take this time to connect with one another. Stay in touch with the media to keep informed, but don’t let it consume the day. 

The world is being asked to take a pause. Take this break to practice reducing the stress in life. Fear and stress is contagious, but so is kindness and positivity. Vector Solutions believes we will get through the uncertain time together.

Stay tuned for our next article related to the current climate to help ensure success for all businesses during the next upcoming weeks. 

Thank you for reading and stay safe!

Helpful links:

CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines 

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public

VectorSolutions – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Video Resource