As I spent my time working from home every day, I found myself struggling to fit-in with ‘the new’ normal. I know I’m not the only one—every people in this earth also feel overwhelmed with the uncertain situation that we faced. Coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has become a global pandemic affecting lives of thousands of people. It shifted our usual activities, making us spent our daily lives locked in our home for the sake of avoiding the spread of the virus.
This condition unwittingly results in panic and stress.
So, how do we deal with the stress caused by COVID-19?
Recently, I attended a webinar by Facebook that discussing an interesting topic: Managing Stress and Avoiding Burnout during COVID-19. It is really helpful and full of insights, so I’ll share bits and pieces of it in this post.
Monica, an integrative health coach, who happens to be the speaker of webinar, said that reacting with fear—which, also normal, actually—will affect badly to our mental health. Meanwhile, staying sane and looking out to our wellbeing will reduce stress.
This bring us to the three key takeaways to avoid stress and burnout: be kind to yourself, you are not in this alone, and focus on what you can control. And first thing first, we also need to understanding things that possibly making us stress every day.
Things that making us stress and can lead us to burnout:
- Current situation (WFH, not having separate workspace at home, trouble with an internet connection)
- Social situation (juggling between things every day, family problems (parents, spouse, kids), team condition (zoom meeting, workloads), etc)
- Psychological concern (thinking about the future, negative thoughts at the pandemic situation, feeling things out of control)
How to prevent stress:
- Practice mindful breathing
- Acceptance (see things in positive ways, fully knowing that this situation will not last forever, this too shall pass)
- Make self-care a priority (schedule 10 minutes for your yourself, breakfast in the morning, make your own coffee/tea to relax)
- Create a routine of positive habits (exercise every day, sleep 8 hours, minimize sugar and refined carbs, reduce intake of mood-altering foods)
- Mindfulness (meditation, letting it pass, aware at the present moment)
- Find meaning in what you do (find value in your life, do your hobby, set goals, do something that will bring you sense of purpose, don’t be afraid to take time off)
- Get support from others (reach out to those closest to you, do not let coronavirus dominate your conversation, limit your contact with negative people)
Focus on what you can control
- Learn how to protect yourself from COVID-19
- Be informed but don’t obsessively consume the news
- Knowledge and preparation can reduce the amount of panic
- Adjust accordingly with what you’re feeling while seeing the update about COVID-19. If it’s badly affecting your mental health, set a limit time every day about how long you can check the update.
Last but not least, please don’t forget to acknowledge your feelings. Whatever you are feeling right now, know that it’s okay to feel that way. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling. This could be through journalling, talking with others, or channelling your emotions into something creative.
Looking after our wellbeing in times like this can help to reduce stress, and is crucial in enabling us to still take calm and effective action in the midst of this global crisis.
Hope it helps!