To Your Health
April, 2020 (Vol. 14, Issue 04)
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Find Your Happy Place

By Editorial Staff

Among the words one could use to describe life in the Age of COVID-19, one may stand out more than most for the general population: stress. Unfortunately, stress is a part of our lives even without the threat of a viral pandemic, but during one (especially this one, fraught with uncertainty and restrictions), our collective stress is bursting at the seams.

Stress about the economy, stress about potentially losing (or already losing) one's job; stress about contracting the virus, knowing someone who has contracted it (particularly someone at high risk for complications) or even losing someone because of it; stress from being isolated, remote, away from friends, routine, and all the things that usually make life enjoyable.

So, that's our reality, at least for a while longer. Now let's change our reality and reduce our stress at the same time. It's time to find your happy place, even if the only place you can find it is in the comfort of your own home. There's no better time than now to incorporate these stress-relieving strategies into your daily routine:

  • Take It Outside: You'll be absolutely amazed at the power of a simple walk when it comes to changing your outlook on life. Rain or shine, getting out into the fresh air (which, depending on where you live, is mildly to significantly fresher right now due to reduced use of cars and pollution-producing businesses) is a feeling you can't quite explain, but always makes you smile.
  • Stick to a Routine: No, it's not the routine you're used to, but it's still important to have one. Pandemic lockdown is not the time to stay up late, wake up late, watch TV for hours, or do anything else your body and mind generally aren't used to doing. It just adds to your stress.
  • Talk It Out: Part of you probably thinks you've done just about all the talking you can possibly do with the limited circle of people you can do it with, but that's not the point. Keeping things inside – that's one of the perpetual causes of stress, and it can eat away at you.
  • Build a Gym: Whether it's in your bedroom, garage, basement or living room, find time to exercise - as consistently as you were doing when you could go to the local gym. Can't replicate every gym exercise? That's OK; in fact, it's actually good to mix up your workouts every so often, because it "shocks" the body into strength / fitness gains you might not have achieved doing the "same old, same old" in the gym.
  • Catch Up: Accustomed to going out on the town every night, browsing stores or otherwise spending time away from home? Well, now you're stuck. But don't consider it "stuck"; consider it freedom to do things you've overlooked for too long: reading more books, adopting a hobby, researching a new job / career (even if you still have one) ... or perhaps most importantly – spending quality time with the people you love. It may seem a bit overwhelming right now, but you'll appreciate it down the road.

sad lady - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Speaking of appreciation, that's the last element of finding your happy place during these uncertain times. Appreciate what you have; not what you don't.  Regardless of the restrictions you feel burdened by, recognize that a) they won't last forever; b) they won't feel nearly as restrictive if you take the above-mentioned tips to heart; and c) you're not alone ... even if it feels like it sometimes. If you're having trouble dealing with stress, particularly right now, reach out to a friend, loved one and your doctor for advice and assistance.