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Providence Life Services

Resources for Sheltering in Place: Stress Relief

a man looking at his phone in bed

If you are following the mandates for sheltering in place or self-quarantining in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, we thank you for your concern for your fellow man. This time has been difficult for everyone, but it is made easier by those who put others first during this health crisis.

This is the second part of a three-part series giving resources for sheltering in place during this global pandemic.

Increased Stress

Maybe you initially thought you'd like this time at home, but it's started to wear on you. Or maybe you work in healthcare, a grocery store, or another essential service and you are busier than ever, and the stress is overwhelming. Maybe the task of daily schoolwork with your child is difficult and straining, or maybe the events of this pandemic have caused incredible financial stress. Whatever it is that is weighing on your mind and heart, you feel stress, and prolonged stress can be dangerous. But what can you do to alleviate that stress?

Take a Break. Sometimes the best way to get away from your stress is to actually walk away from it. Studies show that you’re actually more productive if you take short breaks, and your body will definitely make sure you know this as well. If you have been sitting and working for a prolonged period of time, you are likely feeling this stress in your entire body. Stand up, stretch, and take a walk for a few minutes; you're likely to be more productive when you get back to work. If you're working with your child on schoolwork and feel you're at an impasse, both of you probably need to walk away for a bit (and perhaps send a quick thank-you note to the longsuffering teacher!). Read a book, play a game on your phone, watch a sitcom, read your Bible, or do something that takes you away from the stressful moment and into a more relaxed setting. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you.

Deep-Breathing Exercises: You can't get a massage or a pedicure or one of your other go-to de-stress exercises. Have you tried deep breathing? You likely aren't aware of how your breathing changes when your stress increases. To take a few cleansing breaths, all you need is a few minutes and a quiet space. Relax your body, inhale deeply from your belly (not your chest), and exhale through your mouth. Practice this for at least 30 seconds and you will likely feel a physical difference.

Talk About It. We have already discussed the success of support groups, and many therapists are utilizing one-on-one video, phone, and text platforms to offer their counseling services. Your job may even offer services for remote therapy as part of your benefit package (talk to your HR Director if you're not sure). But if you're comfortable, talk about this stress with people you love. Discuss your work problems with your co-workers or supervisor; maybe they've figured out an effective way of dealing with the same work stressors you are. Talk to your child or your partner about how to share the load of the school day. Ask your pastor or church group to pray for you, or talk to your friends and commiserate about your shared burdens. Avoid minimizing anyone's experience, or getting into a contest about whose life is more stressful. We are all carrying the stress of this unprecedented time, and we all carry it in different ways. But it's a burden that is best borne when we are carrying it together.

Next week, you can read the final part of our Shelter-in-Place survival series. Just know that you are not alone in your stress and your discomfort. We will get through this together.





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