The new reality of self-isolating due to the coronavirus has had quite an impact on the way we work. Many people are now working from home, dealing with the realities of juggling home responsibilities with work responsibilities, and not really having a clear line between the two. This combination of working from home plus self-isolating is the perfect recipe for stress, but there are ways to reduce it.
Step away from what you’re doing.
Stepping away from the task you’re working on is one of the fastest ways to bring stress levels down. You don’t need to spend a large amount of time away from what you’re doing, just a few minutes can do the trick. You simply need to shift your focus to something else. Play a quick game on your phone, check social media, or watch 15 minutes of a TV show or movie, then try to get back to work.
Movement is a great antidote to stress, and you should always incorporate short movement breaks into your workday. As little as five minutes of exercise can be enough to reduce feelings of stress and frustration. Walk a few laps around your home, do a 10 minute yoga routine, dance, lift weights, anything really works. The key is just to move. Not only will movement help reduce stress, it helps prevent stiffness, headaches, and eye strain by ensuring you step away from your screen for at least a little bit of time each day.
Change your surroundings.
If you’re able to, go outside for some fresh air or a walk. Sit by an open window if you don’t have any outdoor space. Be sure to maintain proper distancing from others as to do you part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to not add any additional stress worrying about someone coughing near you.
Call a friend.
Sometimes the best antidote for stress is simply talking it out with a friend. Practicing self isolation or self quarantine is beneficial for preventing the spread of COVID-19, but not so great for mental health. Self isolating means we have less contact with people than we normally would, and that in itself can be a cause of stress. Pick up the phone and actually call or video chat with someone – in this case, texting isn’t enough and isn’t nearly as effective in reducing stress.
Be compassionate with yourself.
We’re living in strange times, so it’s more important now than ever to be compassionate with yourself. You don’t have to be productive 100% of the time. Some days, just doing the absolute bare minimum is all that can be managed, and that’s perfectly okay. Give yourself permission to feel the stress, but don’t let it consume you. Tell yourself that it will pass and you’re strong enough to get through it. The more stressed you’re feeling, the more important it is to remind yourself of that.