5 Ways to Reduce Stress While Social Distancing

Strategies to maintain your mental and physical health in light of mounting stress

by Wendy King, Hub International
Man running
Aerobic exercise is as important for your head as it is for your heart.

As social distancing becomes the new “norm,” the pressures may be overwhelming. There are challenges finding childcare and keeping necessities stocked, never mind keeping yourself safe at work and out in the world. And how much disinfectant is enough, anyway? We all need to think about practical coping strategies while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are five to employ today:

  1. Use facts and precautions to manage fear. Look at the statistics and the real numbers of infections being reported by the CDC and local/national officials. Combat fear by acting on facts, not misinformation—and use precautions like handwashing, disinfecting surfaces and social distancing.
  2. Be smart about social and TV time. Social media can cause incredible anxiety as rumors and misinformation spread, so limit your time and don’t instigate hysteria by reposting unvetted information. Limit your children’s exposure to TV news as well—stay calm and provide facts to help them understand the situation.
  3. Get physical exercise. Aerobic exercise has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, provide stimulation and calm, counter depression and dissipate stress. So take a walk or run; tune in to an online yoga, meditation or workout video; dust off your weight bench and get back on the treadmill.
  4. Help each other. Find out who needs help and offer it in a way that keeps everyone safe. Even with social distancing, you can drop off medicine or supplies to a neighbor or friend. Call your church or check in with online groups to find out who needs a meal or prescription delivered. Be creative to ensure that social distancing doesn’t lead to emotional distancing for those most in need.
  5. Limit poor nutritional habits. Do not consume more than 100 grams (8 tbsp) of sugar a day, which reduces your white blood cells’ ability to kill germs. Limit alcohol intake as studies show that three or more alcoholic drinks daily is enough to suppress your immunity. PM

Wendy King is the Director of Health and Performance for Hub International and a leader in the field of healthcare communications and corporate wellness strategy. Find her blog at hubinternational.com.

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