Suffering from the lockdown blues? 3 ways to deal and manage stress
Life with Covid-19 restrictions, according to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), brought about a rise in levels of loneliness, depression, harmful substance use and suicidal behaviour.
Restrictions such as social distancing and restriction of movements, with job pressures, teaching responsibilities and the anxiety of contracting the virus, created levels of stress that can have a negative impact on your body and health.
Talk to your doctor if you feel down or anxious for more than several weeks or if it starts to interfere with your home or work life. Therapy, medication, and other strategies can help.
In the meantime, there are things you can learn to manage stress before it gets to be too much. Consider these suggestions:
Working out regularly is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind. Plus, exercise will improve your mood. WebMD says, to start with, physical activity can help improve your sleep. And better sleep means better stress management.
Doctors don’t yet know why, but people who exercise more tend to get better deep “slow wave” sleep that helps renew the brain and body. Just take care not to exercise too close to bedtime, which disrupts sleep for some people.
Relax your muscles
When you’re stressed, your muscles get tense. You can help loosen them up on your own and refresh your body by:
- Enjoying a massage
- Taking a hot bath or shower
- Getting a good night’s sleep
Listen to music
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a stressful situation, Healthline suggests taking a break and listening to relaxing music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.
You can try calming music such as classical music, but if that’s not your thing, you can try listening to sounds of nature or the ocean.