Given the dramatic changes that rocked the country at the beginning of 2020, it’s understandable that stress levels are high. Social distancing and sheltering-in, and likewise, fears and worries about contracting the virus have contributed to stressful times. Because of this, it is important that each of us find healthy and effective ways to manage anxiety. In doing so, we not only improve our own wellbeing, but we help reduce others’ stress as well. If we all do our part during these uncertain times, we will be the better for it once they are over.
Knowing the Signs of Anxiety and Stress
For most of us, we recognize that we are stressed and anxious when we begin experiencing excessive worries and fears. But sometimes, this is not always evident. Stressful times can trigger other changes as well that may be more subtle in nature. For example, stress often disrupts our sleep patterns and our appetites. Likewise, it can negatively affect our concentration and ability to remember details. And stress can also lead to more frequent use of alcohol and other substances. Any of these might suggest your stress level has increased. If present, it would be worthwhile exploring healthy ways for managing anxiety.
Tips for Managing Anxiety Effectively
It should be noted that some level of anxiety is not always a bad thing. Healthy levels of anxiety help us prepare and better handle the challenges we may face. But once excessive and causing more serious disruptions in our lives, managing anxiety becomes more important. With this in mind, the following are some key tips for managing anxiety in a healthy manner.
- Seek Understanding — When we fail to have the facts, our emotions can get the best of us. Hearsay, biased views, and even speculations about what might happen only fuels our worries and fears. Therefore, one important strategy for managing anxiety is to get the facts and be informed about a situation. This will reduce your emotional reaction and help you make a more rational assessment.
- Media in Moderation – While being informed is important, excessive exposure to the news and other media can actually make your anxiety worse. Therefore, it is important to limit the amount of news you read or watch to a reasonable amount. During stressful times, it is easy to become “glued” to the news for the latest updates. But in pursuing healthy ways for managing anxiety, these behaviors should be limited. Disconnecting from media at times can be helpful. Get the facts, but avoid the fear.
- Expression Is Essential – When experiencing stressful times, being able to express your worries and concerns is important. Rather than keeping these bottled up inside, you can release them by communicating your worries to others. However, share your thoughts with those you trust rather than publicly or on social media. In doing so, you will be more likely to receive the social support you need.
- Engage in Stress Management – In addition to the above ways for managing anxiety, stress management techniques may also be helpful. For example, meditation and mindfulness practices can help reduce worries and provide perspective. In addition, exercise can also help reduce stress when performed regularly. And certainly, getting adequate sleep can help you in managing anxiety. These are valued steps you can take to keep your stress level in check.
Stay Focused on Your Holistic Wellbeing
In managing anxiety, it is also important to appreciate that your overall health matters. In addition to managing stress and worries, it also helps to maintain good physical, spiritual, and social health as well. Understanding this, a nutritious diet and avoidance of excess alcohol is recommended to promote overall wellness. Likewise, spending time with loved ones and self-reflection exercises can also be of benefit. During stressful times, anxiety can affect your entire being. By managing stress well and attending to your holistic health, you will enjoy total wellness more completely.