Stressed out by the pandemic? We’ve got coronavirus tips to keep you calm.
The state of the world is full of uncertainty during these turbulent times of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). Months of uncertainty, rising disease rates in California in spite of earlier shut downs, and how to go about daily life safely all create stress – whether or not you or someone you love has the disease.
Though as urologists we don’t treat COIVD-19 patients, we are very attuned to how it can directly affect our regular patients. We’ve heard from many of you about your concerns, anxiety and stress due to this disease. As part of our care for our patients, we have some coronavirus tips to help maintain a healthy mind and body. They’re also good for you even if you aren’t stressed by coronavirus. We also recommend the advice on stress and COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
1. Random acts of kindness
A smile goes a long way. The benefits of kindness have been proven to create happiness in the giver and receiver, so be a ray of sunshine to someone today. Even small acts of kindness can make an impact no matter how big or small – checking in with neighbors, greeting essential workers with a friendly “hello” or ensuring to only buy what you need for groceries and supplies.
2. Don’t ignore a healthy diet
The key here is to incorporate healthy choices into your diet each day. High stress can lead to making unhealthy food choices for some people, so it’s important to follow the basics of eating fruits and vegetables, limiting fats and meat, and sticking to smart portions. Drink plenty of water for overall health and to prevent issues brought on by chronic dehydration. Be mindful about snacking throughout the day, and remember that a piece of fruit is a great snack.
3. Get up and exercise
Whether it’s working out at home, online or outdoors, physical activity is a huge stress reliever, boosts the immune system and improves sleep. Although it may be tempting to lounge around all day while being at home, exercise will benefit your health and well-being. It simply makes you feel better all around. Let your body help take your mind off stress.
4. Find balance with mindfulness
Mindfulness can give a pathway back to steadiness that is incredibly helpful during high-stress moments. Mindfulness is simply mentally focusing on the moment without bringing along any judgements or outside thoughts and worries. Navigating our anxiety about the coronavirus is important in order for us to find that balance in everyday life.
People usually attain mindfulness through yoga or meditation, but it can be even easier than that. When you start to feel anxious or stressed, get in a comfortable position, breathe deeply, and you can count your breaths to focus your mind on just that and no other thoughts. Try these more detailed tips, too.
5. Make rest and relaxation priorities
Taking the time to recharge and decompress is important to stay healthy. Whether you sit and mediate or take a walk outdoors, these breaks are essential to preventing mental fatigue due to stress and anxiety. Sleep is critical to physical health, promoting emotional wellness and mental health. So try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible, which can help you get all the sleep your body and mind need.
6. Complete those to-dos
Spending more time at home can free up time to complete those projects around the house you may have been putting off. This is also a perfect time to take on a new hobby, which can give you more enjoyable things to do. Not only will this leave you feeling accomplished, but the decluttering and newfound creativity can help keep stress and anxiety at bay.
Patient Story: A simple procedure helped fix a patient’s urinary frequency.
7. Continue to take care of your health; don’t wait to see a doctor
Now more than ever, the importance of keeping up with doctor visits should be a high priority. Staying up to date on your healthcare visits will pinpoint any underlying issues that can only get worse. We know some patients are fearful of entering a medical environment due to the stress and anxiety of catching COVID-19. That’s completely understandable. We’ve made coming in for a visit as safe as possible for all of us, with strict protocols to put your mind at ease. Our telemedicine appointments are another option.
Safe ways to medical care
We make it easier than ever during these coronavirus times, with safety protocols for in-office visits and optional telemedicine visits.
8. Foster social connection
This may be one of our most important coronavirus tips yet: Check in with your loved ones regularly. The interaction with friends or family (virtually or in a social distanced setting) can bring a sense of connection to all, especially when feelings of isolation are at an all-time high. We all have our good and bad days, so reach out to others and help lift their spirits. Anxiety makes us want to withdraw from our normal world and interactions, but those are exactly the connections you most need right now.
9. Manage news intake
It’s impossible for news outlets to not cover the COVID-19 situation thoroughly and repeatedly, including all its national and local permutations and concerns. But that doesn’t mean you have to be constantly plugged into the 24 hour news cycle, which is a prescription for unending stress and anxiety. Stay informed, but take breaks from the news, including on social media.
We all have our favorite news sources, we just need to ratchet down the viewing, which is even more tempting when you might be sheltering in place as much as possible. Our coronavirus tip in this regard is to check out other reputable news sources for a more calm, accurate perspective, such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Inaccurate information can be confusing, and it often spreads among friends and family. You might want to set specific times each day to unplug and manage your news intake to avoid heightened stress and anxiety.