For many of us, 2020 was an exceptionally stressful year marked by fears of the coronavirus pandemic. Even if the vaccine is on the horizon, we will likely need some stress management strategies to get into 2021. In this guide from Tara Parker-Pope, you'll find plenty of advice on how to be better at stress. Stress doesn't have to bring you down, she writes, "Get it right and it won't rule your life – it may even be good for you. Here are ways to deal with stress, lessen its damage, and even your daily stress to use to make you stronger. "
Below are more tips from Well writers' stories over the past year.
Let stress work for you during stressful times
By Kari Leibowitz and Alia Crum
These are stressful times. Because of the coronavirus and the Covid-19 disease it causes, millions of Americans worry not only about their health, but also about their livelihoods and their future. At the same time, there are numerous warnings that stress itself is harmful to health and could even make us more susceptible to the disease. The irony is obvious.
Fortunately, there is an alternative approach: we can actually use this stress to improve our health and wellbeing. Over a decade of research – ours and others' – suggests that it isn't the type or amount of stress that determines its effects. Instead, it is our attitude towards stress that matters most.
Exercise can make it easier to recover from stress
By Gretchen Reynolds
Exercise makes it easier to recover from too much stress, according to a fascinating new study in mice. Regular exercise has been shown to increase the levels of a chemical in the animals' brains, which helps them remain mentally resilient and courageous, even when their lives suddenly seem strange, intimidating, and fraught with threat.
The study included mice, but it is likely to have implications for our species as well as we face the stress and unrest of the ongoing pandemic and today's political and social disruption.
Five Minute Coronavirus Stress Resets
From Jenny Taitz
Instead of dealing with fear and uncertainty by worrying and then chasing after short-term solutions with longer-term consequences, such as: For example, if you are hesitant about using food or marijuana to deal with benzodiazepines – the anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax – it is helpful to experiment with quick strategies that empower you. These strategies aren't necessarily a cure, but they can help lessen the intensity of overwhelming emotions so that you can recalibrate yourself to better handle the challenges you face.
My patients often think that an added benefit of coping strategically increases your sense of mastery – the hope that comes when you stretch yourself and accomplish something difficult, such as coping productively with your fear.
Managing Coronavirus Fears
By Jane E. Brody
Covid-19, the invisible enemy now hitting 328.2 million Americans, is tailor-made to induce fear and anxiety, causing both rational and irrational behavior and, if the emotional stress persists, potentially damaging health.
A psychotherapist I know has advised his patients to limit their exposure to the news and discussions about Covid-19 to one hour a day and, if possible, use only one location for the rest of the day and other parts of the house productive or pleasurable activities.
Help for children with fear in the pandemic
By Perri Klass, M.D.
Yes, this is a fearful time, and yes everyone is fearful, but being a fearful child during a fearful time is especially difficult. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in children and adolescents (and this was the case before the pandemic) and can be linked to other mental health problems, particularly depression.
Fear can drive children to emergency rooms and psychiatric hospitals, and in a time of generally heightened stress and anxiety, parents with anxious children are most concerned about those affected and how to talk to them about the complexities of life in 2020 should. and assess when concerns are worrying enough to need professional help.