Recognizing and Managing Stress
You may feel anxious and stressed out, especially during this special time. The COVID-19 pandemic is a new disease, and it may cause feelings of overwhelm to both adults and children.
Recognizing and managing stress in a healthy way will make not only you, but the people you care about stronger.
These days, it’s normal to have these kinds of feelings:
- Anxiety about being separated from loved ones.
- Fear about running out of needed supplies at home.
- Concerns for your physical safety.
- Isolation and boredom.
- Fear of getting sick.
- Worry about the loss of income.
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Thoughts of worry, fear, or blame.
- Fear of being stigmatized if ever you become sick.
Physicians Premier, your Austin ER, cares about the community. We would like to share some essential information on how you can learn how to recognize stress, and what you can do about it.
Did you know that stress is your body’s way of protecting you? When you are stressed out, your body’s defenses kick work overtime in a fast, automatic process. When working properly, stress helps you stay energetic, focused, and alert. It can even save your life in emergency situations, giving you that needed alertness to slam on the brakes to avoid a car accident, or helping you defend yourself in a bad situation. It can also help you rise to meet challenges.
However, beyond a certain point, stress can stop being helpful and may begin to cause damage to your mood, health, relationships, productivity, and quality of life. If such is the case, it’s time to take action.
Signs of stress
Here are the common signs of stress overload.
- Inability to focus
- Memory problems
- Seeing only the negative
- Racing or anxious thoughts
- Constant worrying
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Chest pain and/or rapid heart rate
- Frequent colds or flu
- A general feeling of unhappiness
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feelings of isolation or loneliness
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Eating more or less
- Nervous habits like pacing or nail biting
- Withdrawing from others
People’s reactions differ – not only in how they feel, but how they think about various situations or stressors. Here are some steps to help you cope with stress.
- Stay informed with reliable, accurate information from authoritative sites or trusted sources like the CDC or the World Health Organization. Avoid news outlets or social media accounts that promote rumors or fear.
- Connect with family and friends through phone calls, video calls, social media, or text.
- Take good care of yourself and your loved ones. You know the drill – drink plenty of water, eat healthy, and get adequate exercise and sleep.
- Relax by doing things that work for you, whether it be meditating, stretching, taking deep breaths, or by simply doing things that you enjoy.
- Unless you are showing signs of illness, going outside for a walk is okay. However, DO NOT forget to keep at least 6 feet away from others, and do not go out without wearing a face mask.
Be patient with yourself and others. During this time, it is common to experience some degree of reaction to stress like frustration, anxiety, or fear. Focus on the things you can control. For instance, you can’t control the severity of the outbreak in your community, but you can take proactive steps in reducing your family’s risk of contracting the illness. Make a list of positive affirmations and use this to help you and your loved ones stay emotionally and mentally strong.
Recognizing stress is key to managing it. Remember, the more positive you are in approaching the situation, the more likely you’ll be able to cope and influence the outcome.
“Coronavirus (COVID-19): managing stress and anxiety,” The University of Melbourne, https://services.unimelb.edu.au/counsel/resources/wellbeing/coronavirus-covid-19-managing-stress-and-anxiety
“Recognising and Managing Stress,” WayAhead Menal Health Association NSW, https://wayahead.org.au/get-the-facts/recognising-and-managing-stress/
“Coping with Stress,” CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
“Get the Facts About Coronavirus,” CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
“Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic,” WHO, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019