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Stressed from the Coronavirus pandemic? Read this for helpful ideas from our resident Psychology expert

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The offices are empty.  Every one of them.

Homes are full.  Full time moms, dads, school kids, babies.  Everybody is home.

Regardless of how dialed in you are you’ll deal with stress during this situation.

There are things you can do to minimize the impact when stress hits really hard, so it’s easier to deal with.  We’ll talk about that in a second.  However there are steps to take on a daily basis that make stress significantly easier to deal with when it hits.  Call it maintenance, and you have to commit to these steps to address your stress long term.

Maintenance of stress working at home

Emails after 5PM: Force yourself to turn it off.  Even if you are just checking your email once a night, it’s always in the back of your mind.  Remember when you’re checking your email, your working.  And youre not getting paid enough to work 24/7.  It can be challenging at first, once you get in a good habit you’ll be rewarded.

Eating right: This along with exercise are the foundation for dealing with stress.  Your body is prepared as best it can to deal with issues.  Can be as simple as an Apple, hard boiled egg, and a protein bar/shake for breakfast.  For lunch tuna salad or grilled chicken sandwich with fruit, nuts, chips and a snack.  For dinner add a vegetable.  Or some variation of this.  Make sure it works for you.

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Exercise: Exercising 3x per week and eating right provide the base.  Each person has different levels of exercising that will minimize stress based on fitness level.  Just taking a walk in the evening can be extremely beneficial and relaxing if you are getting started. See the trees, weather, birds flying around you.  For an active individual running, biking and swimming are great options.  Fit it into your schedule, it takes two weeks to start a good habit.

Sleep: We need a good chunk of sleep to be productive and think clearly the following day.  This one is hard to prioritize because you can’t make yourself get a good night sleep.  It either comes or it doesn’t.  By relaxing before bed with a book, taking a warm shower, watching mindless TV, and tiring yourself out with good exercise, you’ll give yourself the best shot of getting a good night sleep.

Limit the booze: Does not mean to stop drinking your beverage of choice altogether if it is something you enjoy.  A beverage or two can be a nice release on a Friday or Saturday night.  However if its more than that you’ll pay for it in the stress department the next day.  Every time.

Get a side hustle: This may sound counter-intuitive.  Add another job?  The real value in adding a side hustle is spreading out your focus to limit the time your mind spends on a stressful situation in your office job.  It can help minimize the impact of your office job on your well-being.  Give it a shot.

9-1-1 stress emergency

If you feel an acute stressful reaction coming on there are immediate steps you can take to address it

Running, swimming: Not a runner or swimmer?  Become one.  Don’t have to go fast.  Pushing your body to the limits focuses your body to focus energy on the task at hand.  Run or swim until you feel you are in a better place.  You’ll get there.  You may need to repeat this every day for awhile to get back on track.

And you may have heard of runners euphoria.  It’s a thing.  After you run a long way you feel great

Taking baths: A warm bath goes a long way in relaxing your body.  If you have access to a hot tub that can do the same thing.  Your local YMCA or swimming pool should have a hot tub if you don’t have one.  A warm shower helps too, not as much as a bath.

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Forest bathing: Spending time in the woods amongst trees and nature is proven to reduce stress.  Find time to go take a hike, take a swim in a lake, wade in a creek.  Invest time outside in will naturally reduce stress.  There are different degrees of interacting with nature based on who you are and where you live.  For some getting out to your local park and walking the paved trail is enough.  For others you may schedule an evening or weekend trip to the state park with your fishing pole and cast a line.

Stop the booze: normal maintenance doesn’t require you to stop drinking.  However if stress is hitting hard stop drinking entirely.  Throw the one or two drinks a night out the window.  You need your body and mind at 100% and thinking clearly and eliminating the booze will go a long way.

If stress becomes too burdensome there are professionals that can help.  Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and make the call.

Best of luck, this is just a point in time.  We'll get through it together!

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