10 Practical Tips to Help You Cope with Coronavirus Stress

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Many people who may have never felt a need for mental health services are now struggling with increased anxiety, depression, and isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Below are 10 Practical Coping Techniques for Dealing with coronavirus stress that we’ve been putting into practice:

1. Confront Tasks You’ve Been Avoiding

Whether they be mundane tasks you’ve been pushing off because they’re joyless, or creative endeavors you’ve been resisting and avoiding out of fear, self-criticism, or perfectionism, now is the time to rise to the challenge. By confronting these tasks and getting curious about why you may be procrastinating, you’re more likely to be able to clear out mental clutter that may be burdening you and robbing your energy.

When it comes to procrastination, lookout for your inner critic who may be stopping you. Instead of admonishing yourself for not acting sooner, shift the narrative to be more forgiving and service focused.

I like to remind myself that if you don’t put that creative project out in the world, no one else will. In this way, by withholding creative endeavors and avoiding putting it out there for people to potentially benefit – even if it’s just one person who benefits – you’re denying its therapeutic potential and robbing it from the universe.

Give yourself to share, even if there’s trepidation.

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By confronting tasks you’ve been avoiding, you’ll actually be able to clear out mental or physical clutter that may be burdening you.

2. Reconnect, then Stay Connected with Loved Ones

Social isolation doesn’t have to be emotional isolation. Even before the coronavirus began sweeping its way around the world, many of us were so preoccupied by the things that needed our attention that our relationships suffered because of it.

Plan to take this time to reach out to people you may have fallen out of touch with. In doing so, you’re acknowledging your needs and reminding yourself and others that, now more than ever, we need to support each other.

Allow yourself to give and receive that support.

When it comes to procrastination, lookout for your inner critic who may be stopping you.

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3. Meditate and Practice Mindfulness

Meditation has nothing but positive effects on immune functioning, and now is the time to put it into good use. Many people are feeling anxious about the state of the world, and not knowing how long we’ll have to wait out this crisis. Coronavirus stress and anxiety projects a lot of fear into the world.

Being in a fear-based state puts a strain on your nervous system and body, and could actually hurt your immune functioning. Practice mindfulness meditation—which asks that we live in each moment with intention—and challenge yourself to focus on hope and trust in the future, affirming the belief that humanity is resilient and innovative in the face of crisis.

Allow yourself to be in this moment.

4. Stay Physically fit, Occupied in Body and Spirit

Physical activity can help reduce some coronavirus stress you may be feeling. Just because you can’t go to the gym doesn’t mean you have to be idle and sedentary. In reality, there are plenty of low-impact exercises you can do to stay fit, so get creative.

The simpler, the better!

Start with a hundred or so of something every day at your home: 100 sit-ups, jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, or whatever feels right. Maybe for you that’s yoga, Pilates, or Plyometrics.

Many fitness experts are posting their favorite at-home workouts online. The resources are endless and at your fingertips so follow them, and follow along.

Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day of at-home exercising, it’s important to stay occupied in body and in mind. 

After all, movement is medicine, so allow yourself to get moving. 

“Remind yourself that if you don’t put that creative project out in the world, no one else will.”

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5. Strive for Self-Improvement

Each of us is always learning, both passively and actively. Listen to an audiobook on a topic or self-improvement subject that you find enjoyable. Listening, being receptive, and rehearsing what you’re hearing will improve your ability to articulate and share what you’re absorbing. The more time you dedicate to listening to an author who positively impacts you, the more empowered you’ll feel to act. It’s simple, yet highly effective and rewarding. Allow yourself to get creative and grow.

The simple act of creating this separation and physically replicating your professional routine can help make your day feel just a little more mentally contained.

6. Protect your Living and Working Spaces by Creating Mental Separation

When dealing with coronavirus stress, it’s important to maintain and replicate your daily routine, especially if you live in tight quarters with others or don’t normally work from home. For many it helps to wake up, shower and get dressed as though you’re going into the office, even if it’s on the casual side.

You don’t want to stay in your PJ’s or in bed all day. The simple act of creating this separation and physically replicating your professional routine can help make your day feel just a little more mentally contained.

Allow yourself to create separation.

7. Declutter to Unburden Your Mind and Space

“Spring Cleaning” your personal space of items that no longer spark joy can be an extremely freeing process, especially if you donate them (at the appropriate time, of course). While tempting, don’t try to take on more than you can realistically handle right now. Maybe today that means tackling a kitchen drawer, closet, or corner of a room, rather than your entire home in one go.

The goal is to gradually unburden, not to overwhelm yourself.

Allow yourself to let things go.

Whether through visualization exercises or physiological methods to help you balance your sympathetic nervous system, these relaxation techniques can help you better manage your coronavirus stress or anxiety. Try to implement a variety of these practical relaxation techniques and notice the difference in how you feel afterwards.

8. Create Opportunities to Help Others

Every act of kindness in the world counts, and this is a time when the world needs it most.

Anything people can do to demonstrate kindness to those in need, to be conscientious of people who are at risk and vulnerable, is as important now as ever.

Ask yourself the simple question, “What can I do to positively impact someone else’s day?”

While tempting, don’t try to take on more than you can realistically handle right now. To combat coronavirus stress, the goal is to gradually unburden, not to overwhelm yourself.

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9. Practice Gratitude. 

This is a time to remember not to take anything for granted and to reflect on what’s truly important.

Practice affirming thoughts such as, “I’m grateful for my health,” “I’m grateful to have delicious and varied foods in my refrigerator,” and “I’m grateful to be able to do my work remotely and for clients who are sticking with me through this.” When we practice gratitude, what we have suddenly becomes enough.

Allow yourself to take time to focus your attention on the things you have to be grateful for, no matter how small.

10. Reflect on Your Purpose

Use this time to reflect on how you’re using your time, energy, and money, and honestly ask yourself: “What would I be doing if I gave myself permission to totally shift my life?” You don’t need to turn your life upside down or make impulsive decisions to use this inflection point to gain clarity.

But this is an opportune time to confront ourselves, remind ourselves that we are each responsible for our own lives, and then do something about it. No one has more control over your life than you.

Allow yourself to reflect and appreciate opportunities that exist to expand your consciousness and your life.

The good news is that while the weight of the world may feel like it’s on your shoulders, remember that we’re in this together. Everything you need is already inside of you and by exercising even some of these techniques you may find that you experience less coronavirus stress and dread on a daily basis. Take measures to implement these practical ten coping tips into action today.

Your Turn: What techniques do you use to reduce coronavirus stress? Let us know in the comments below!

Dr. Logan Jones

Dr. Logan Jones is a Psychologist and Founder of Clarity Therapy. Sign up for his free 30 Days of Gratitude email series and follow him on Instagram at @drloganjones.

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