Ways to combat pandemic stress

Published 4:40 pm Monday, March 30, 2020

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Stress is a part of life for the average person, but how a person deals with stress can go a long way in determining the impact it will have on one’s life and health.

The Center for Disease Control warns that the current coronavirus pandemic and the ever-fluctuating landscape revolving around it can be an overwhelming time for both adults and children.

According to the CDC, the elevated stress is a direct result of the fear and anxiety that can surround the disease.

Not all stress is handled the same, and a person’s background is one of the strongest factors in how a person goes about responding to an outbreak, such as the coronavirus pandemic.

There are certain ways the CDC has found that stress forms during outbreaks of infectious disease, such as being feared and worried about one’s own health and the health of loved ones.

The CDC stressed the influential impact the attitude of parents can have on their children during the pandemic.

If parents are calm about the situation, the children in the household are likely to follow suit.

The following is a list of changes the CDC warns parents to watch out for when spotting stress in their children:

-Excessive crying or irritation in younger children

-Returning to behaviors they had outgrown, such as toileting accidents or bedwetting.

-Excessive worrying or sadness

-Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits

-Irritable behaviors in teens

-Poor school performance

-Difficulty concentrating or keeping attention

-Avoiding activities enjoyed in the past

-Unexplained headaches or body pain

-Use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, understanding how your body handles stress and recognizing when it is experiencing it can go a long way in helping prevent it from becoming a serious problem.

Being easily angered, feeling depressed and having low energy are obvious signs that the body is enduring an overload of stress.

Although certain individuals are stuck inside in isolation, regular exercise is still viewed by the NIMH as one of the best ways to better one’s mood and improve overall health.

Other methods of proven stress relief include trying a relaxing activity or breathing exercise and being mindful of what all you have accomplished at the end of the day instead of what still needs to be done.

The NIMH advised not being afraid to say “no” to new tasks if it begins to feel like your current workload is maxed out.

For more information about the side effects of elevated stress during the coronavirus pandemic and how to combat it, visit cdc.gov or nimh.nih.gov.