The American Psychological Association (APA) Stress in America 2020 report declared that there is a national mental health crisis in the country, with 78 percent of the population reporting that the coronavirus pandemic is a significant cause of stress.
Gen Z adults from 18 to 23 years old reported the highest levels of stress. Parents experienced higher stress levels than those who are not parents. APA expressed concern that this can lead to major health and social outcomes in coming years because acute and prolonged stress has a real impact on minds and bodies.
The majority of adults reported feeling either very restless or very tired that they just sat and did nothing. Almost half said they experienced increased body tension, mood swings, and behavioral changes such as getting angry easily and screaming at a loved one. People reported disruptions in sleep patterns, changes in eating patterns with a tendency to consume unhealthy food, and weight changes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends various ways to minimize the damaging effects of stress, such as regular exercise, stretching, meditation, and adequate hours of deep sleep. It also advises mindful eating of healthy and well-balanced meals, reduced intake of alcohol, and avoidance of tobacco.
CDC urges people to keep informed about the pandemic through reliable sources but to avoid the bombardment of bad news. Instead, it suggests taking time to relax and turn to activities you enjoy doing. It also encourages people to stay connected with loved ones, family, and friends, and to nurture such relationships while complying with pandemic health and safety guidelines.
Everyone is tired of the coronavirus and the extreme stress it brings. If you are among those experiencing pandemic fatigue, you can fight back by finding more imaginative ways to relieve stress. Now is the time to experiment because people will not blame you for acting out of the box. For instance, you can play around with your looks and have a makeover to lift your spirits.
The way you do your hair can make a big difference. In most states, hair salons and barbershops remain open during the pandemic. You can try a drastically different hairstyle. You can color your hair. You can even try different colors as you get balayage.
If you wear glasses, you can change them to a different frame style. If you do not wear glasses, you can start wearing trendy glasses that protect your eyes from blue light and radiation emanating from computer screens and gadgets.
You can transform your bath time into a spa-like experience by ordering all-natural aromatherapy-based soaps and shampoo. You can choose oils that either relax or invigorate you. You will emerge refreshed and ready once more to face the crisis.
If you find the usual fitness routines unexciting, you can venture into martial arts. You can start by taking online lessons while in-person classes are not yet open. You can consider tai chi, boxing, kickboxing, tae kwon do, krav maga, jujitsu, Muay Thai, karate, and judo, among others. Not only will you become fit, but you will also be learning self-defense that may come in handy in the future. Having regular physical activity will also help you get a good night’s sleep.
To give yourself an incentive to eat healthy meals, you can try cooking healthy gourmet dishes. There are many online recipes and videos you can learn from. It is now easy to order even the most exotic ingredients from online stores. Make sure you stick to fresh ingredients and avoid dishes that are too sweet or too salty.
Do not be shy in sharing your new experiences with your loved ones, family, and friends who are not living in your household. Have regular video calls with them so that none of you will feel isolated. Cultivating meaningful connections is a powerful defense against the harmful effects of stress.
To liven up your video calls, you can play any of the various virtual party games that are available for free online.
If all of you are physically able, it is best to choose virtual games that involve physical activity. This will add to everyone’s quota of physical activity per day. Games such as a scavenger hunt will force participants to scramble all over their homes to look for specific items. Games like Simon Says will require participants to do specific actions.
If some participants have mobility issues, there are also virtual party games they can join, like online Bingo and Scrabble.
Your Imagination Is the Limit
The pandemic is posing a huge challenge to everyone. Vaccines are available but drug companies are still racing to keep up with new Covid-19 variants emerging in various countries, including the US.
You cannot just lie back and allow the pandemic to defeat you, though. First, you must comply with all the CDC guidelines, including getting a vaccine as soon as you can.
The next step is solely in your hands. You must use your imagination and creativity to get yourself out of the rut. Push back against stress to protect your emotional, mental, and physical health.