How are you holding up during these stress-filled Coronavirus times?
There was a recent NY Times article titled “I Am Going to Physically Explode: Moms Rage in a Pandemic” that captured the angst some of us are feeling these days. Writer Minna Dubin explained “Mom rage” as “the colloquial term for the unrestrained anger many women experience during pregnancy, postpartum and beyond” and believes it’s a part of today’s Covid-19 landscape. Dubin writes that:
Between stay-at-home orders, Covid-19 health concerns, financial instability (or fear of it), and police violence against Black people, it is no surprise that mothers are experiencing intensified rage above the surface, and feelings of grief, fear, and loneliness below.
Don’t these feelings extend to many of us these days, female or male, Mom or not? Watch the news for 30 minutes today, or simply scan a few major news sites, and it’s enough to set your internal world on fire with a dizzying array of feelings—concern, disgust, bewilderment, anger, alarm—not necessarily in that order.
A friend of mine recently told me he stopped watching the news, hadn’t see it in over a week, either on the tube or online. But if you’re like me, it’s hard to sit with your head in the sand as the earth is shaking around you. At minimum, you need to keep up-to-speed on Covid-19 and how the latest regulations and virus upticks are affecting your community. And to stay sane:
What we need during these crazy times is a little self-care.
You and I need to find a way to relive stress that doesn’t involve escaping to the beach or the mountains for a week. (Though that’s nice if you can swing it.) So what follows are seven small acts that can help you de-stress immediately. Most of these tactics take only a few seconds, though they require a little practice—and by practice, I mean remembering to use them.
Think of these seven suggestions as a part of your stress relief toolbox. You can use them one at a time or in any combination. For instance, you might find that 1, 2 and 5 can snap you out of any momentary funk you might be in.
7 Ways to Relieve Coronavirus Stress
- Breathe. When people are in stressful situations, they often engage in shallow breathing. What you need to do is take a deep breath. Innnnnnnnnnn. Outtttttttttt. Repeat. The increased oxygen intake has a way of clearing your head and calming your nerves. It’s something you might try repeatedly throughout the day.
- Smile. I’m not talking about a big, goofy grin, but a slight upturn of the lips at each corner. Try it now. There’s something about a smile that can help lighten a tense moment, like a muscle memory that somehow takes us back to a happier time.
- Repeat a mantra. I’ve written about meditation before and finding a key phrase, or mantra, that works for you. While it can be hard to find time to meditate, a quick interior repetition of a personal mantra has a way of reminding you of the meditative state, relaxing the mind. Think phrases like “God gives me strength” or “Everything is going to be alright.”
- Go for a walk. Stress has a way of tightening our muscles including the one inside our heads. Take 5-10 minutes to go for a quick brisk walk, even if it’s just around the block. There’s something about putting the body in motion that makes the mind feel better. In the words of Terri Guillemets, “Walking is good for solving problems — it’s like the feet are little psychiatrists.”
- Eat good food. We all like a little junk food now and then. I personally have a soft spot for potato chips. Yet, we must balance our cravings for sweets and salts with healthy foods including fruit and vegetables. They’re not only good for you, you’ll feel better after eating them.
- Carve out some alone time. One Mom with kids in the NY Times article says that when she needs alone time, she “listens to music or a podcast, reads or just sit in silence.” Another woman with 3 children has another solution: find the time to take a shower. Whatever, however, you can do it, find some time for solitude.
- Remind yourself: “I’m doing the best I can.” Don’t be too hard yourself. These times can be tough and you may slip up now and then, saying or doing something you later regret. Forgive yourself. The next moment is a chance to get back on track.