CLEVELAND — If you feel like you're riding an emotional rollercoaster during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not alone.
As Americans report rising stress levels during the current stay-at-home orders, the Cleveland Clinic, along with Psychologist Susan Albers, is now giving out a free list of tips to those dealing with up-and-down mental-health during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The first tip to handling stress is simply understanding the stress. "It's important to understand that our bodies — and minds — aren’t really made to handle something long-term like this pandemic," the clinic says in a statement on their website.
Dr. Albers believes that because humans are creatures of habit, something that comes along and disturbs our routine - like a pandemic - is going to cause induced stress, and since it plays out over time, it is going to include physical effects like fatigue.
It's also important to remember to not get ahead of yourself. According to the Clinic, staying mindful is one of the best defenses against stress.
Since, unfortunately, there is no expiration date on something like a global virus, taking things one day at a time is pertinent now more than ever.
“Using mindfulness and trying to control the present is important,” Dr. Albers says. “We can’t control what’s going to happen in the next month or several months down the line, but really focusing your mindset on today — what can I do today? — can help people from not feeling so overwhelmed.”
This mentality can also help you get through smaller, but sometimes difficult tasks like mask-wearing or dealing with separation anxiety.
While understanding the stress and staying mindful can seem like daunting tasks, Dr. Albers also says that there are smaller things that individuals can do to stay mentally healthy.
Getting outside is a great way to achieve something that is good for you both physically and mentally every day. On top of the Vitamin D, Dr. Albers says it can also help reduce stress hormones overall.
Monitoring news consumption can help as well. By avoiding watching or ingesting news -which is a stressor for many Americans - at the beginning or end of the day, you may actually be able to stay more positive about the day.
Dr. Albers also advises that overall, just try to look for the positives, (they are there), and avoid things that stress you out and make you feel worse.
And above all, never be afraid to ask for help. Everyone needs it from time to time.