Overcoming Stress During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The Covid-19 (coronavirus) is a global pandemic that is creating chaos in people’s lives – financially, emotionally, physically, and is depriving people of their necessities. Stress can affect your sleep cycle, heart and lungs, digestive system, muscles, and even your immune system. Throughout this post, we’ll recommend numerous different ways to combat stress, and ensure you’re happy and healthy throughout the outbreak :)
People worldwide are harboring fear, anxiety, and loneliness during this pandemic. It is important to identify why you’re feeling this way and determine techniques to help quell your stress. Being aware of your mental health can help make you healthier and stronger and is one of the first steps to control your stress - so you’re already ahead of the crowd!
Effective Methods for Reducing Stress
Overall, exercise increases your sense of wellbeing and overall health by releasing endorphins and improving your mood. That’s why, especially during this time of stress and being cooped up at home, exercise is crucial.
Document your agenda and achievable goals throughout your time at home. Incremental goals empowers us to strive for more and achieve the impossible. This will overall improve your mood and help you become motivated throughout the pandemic.
Slowly build into your workout everyday so you don't overexert yourself. Check out our chronic workload article for runners!
An alternative to exercise, you can also try out new hobbies that are possible at home, such as scrapbooking and reading since you have a lot more free time!
We all want to be updated on the latest coronavirus news, but too much can also be a problem. Try having a news detox - for at least a few hours per day - to help curb overall anxiety. If you’re still feeling uneasy, tell a friend or loved one to contact you if an emergency occurs, to ensure that you will always be in the know.
Consuming unhealthy foods is detrimental to your health, regardless if you are at home or work. Use the extra time off to kick off a new diet plan, experiment with healthy recipes, or just to focus on eating more nutritiously! Here are some options for a healthy, invigorating pre-workout meal.
Within 2-3 hours:
Fill up with a balanced meal!
· Sandwich on whole-grain bread with lean protein and a side salad for fiber
· Egg on whole-grain toast with avocado and fruit
· Lean protein, brown rice and roasted vegetables
Within 2 hours:
· Protein smoothie made with milk, protein powder, banana and mixed berries
· Whole-grain cereal and milk
· A cup of oatmeal topped with banana and sliced almonds
· Natural almond butter and fruit preserve sandwich on whole-grain bread
Within an Hour or Less:
· Greek yogurt and fruit
· Nutrition bar with protein and wholesome ingredients
· A piece of fruit, such as a banana, orange or apple
Note about social distancing
Social distancing is the process that initially separates you from the rest of society. Although it might be tempting to continue going to the gym and work out with a large group of friends, the CDC has stressed that social distancing can slow the onset of coronavirus throughout our population. Thus, exercising in the comfort of your own home, is one of the healthiest choices you can be making! Here are some options for how to exercise in place or by yourself while you practice social distancing.
Tai Chi - a series of self-paced, flowing body movements and breathing exercises. Roots in martial arts and helps calm the mind. Can help lower blood pressure and boost the immune system. You can practice any place, any time.
Yoga - a series of stationary exercises to help your flexibility and joint mobility! Helps with injury prevention as well.
Pilates - A series of controlled movements and mat exercises designed strength, flexibility, and endurance. It’s an anaerobic exercise and it helps tone your body which can in turn relieve stress and put you in a better mood.
Although the above exercises are good for flexibility and strength training, they still can’t replace a good cardio workout to boost your cardiovascular endurance. We recommend these activities for cardio training:
Biking - Provides a dose of fresh air, help lift your mood and can even mix up your daily workout routine. Stationary biking also works!
At-Home Cardio - The internet is full of cardio workouts you can complete on one yoga mat by exercising in place. This puts a unique spin on how you get that cardio in and alternating exercises can be fun!
Other Stress Management Techniques
Meditation helps focus your thoughts and allows synergy between your thoughts and emotions. It is a very effective stress release method, as it relaxes your mind, leading to an overall relaxed body. Here’s one of our team’s favorite deep breathing exercise:
- Lie on the floor, or sit comfortably in a chair
- Close your eyes
- Take a deep breath in through your nose - count for five seconds
- Exhale through your nose - count for five seconds
- Now use a word or phrase with your breath - in your mind think “I breath in tranquility and peace”
- Exhale and in your mind think “I breath about tension”
- Repeat all steps 5-10 times
This allows you to bring attention to your breath and will help quell stress.
At StayRunning, we believe that running is one of the most effective stress prevention methods. Boston Medical and Harvard University have both conducted studies that proved running is an effective antidepressant and an efficient de-stressor. We recommend taking a look at our “ ” (8 minute read) and “Running Outside During the Coronavirus” (5 minute read) for the best ways to get started!
Finally, working from home allows us more free time by decreasing travel. What are you going to do with all your free time? (Put it in the comments below) We recommend making a schedule or planner briefly outlining what you’ll be doing to keep you prepared and less stressed during the outbreak. Throughout all the activities you do always remember to persevere through the tough times, and imagine your aspirations on the other side.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, & StayRunning!