Over two-thirds of adults in the UK and 53 percent of adults in the US have reported feeling stressed about their livelihoods and the future impact of Covid-19. Here are five tips to help you deal with these stressful times
1 Write about it
A Harvard study suggests that stress writing accomplishes three things: it helps organise thoughts and emotions; writing may help neutralise anxiety and trauma by transferring those feelings from your emotions to pen and paper; and finally, writing may be a safe outlet to release tension and aid healing. Writing down why you’re stressed helps empty your brain to make room for more positive contemplations.
2 Accept stressful situations
“Learning how to accept your present-moment experience is really important for reducing stress,” says Emily Lindsay, co-author of a 2019 stress study. The art of mindfulness means intentionally refusing to label something as good or bad. Instead of placing judgement on an event, embrace it with compassion and understanding. Follow our mindfulness tips here for more advice.
3 Get some fresh air
The combination of exercise (a walk or a run) and fresh air increases oxygen and blood flow, relaxing the body and reducing stress and worry. Runner’s World, a magazine dedicated to the sport, offers four tips to calm the mind while running: 1) tune into your body, 2) think happy thoughts, 3) enjoy the exercise, and 4) always sticking with your breath.
4 Managing perfectionism
On one hand, perfectionism motivates us to achieve high results; on the other, it can cause more stress and slow us down. In March 2020, researchers discovered that people with high perfectionist tendencies are more prone to developing stress-induced physical and mental ailments. To manage perfectionism, an HBR article suggests looking at the big picture, then recalibrating standards and keeping a checklist of the progress made.
5 Use healthy distractions
Stress often comes from overthinking and playing over the same thing again and again. Experts recommend shifting your thoughts and attention to something neutral and straightforward, such as reading a book, taking a hot shower, watching a movie, or meditating. For more ways to help calm yourself, follow our recommendations here.