Oct 16, 2020
How to avoid stress in the Covid-19 era

By Anthony Mugo

Stress has been described as a medical or biological condition that causes bodily and mental tension. It can initiate the fight or flight response, a complex reaction of the nerves and hormone systems. Being under constant stress can lead to many problems ranging from hypertension to depression. Knowing about these potential dangers, doctors advise their patients to avoid stress and stressful situations. These can lead to lowered quality of life or even result in premature death.

Knowing how to deal with stress is especially important during this Covid-19 era. The pandemic has forced people to limit physical meetings and socialisation, which are good ways of dealing with stress. This has meant that people will need to come up with new activities that can help them to handle stress. To relieve stress, a few approaches have been recommended as follows.

1. Keep a positive attitude

You may have heard of people who when shown a glass that has some water see the glass as being half empty, while others describe it as being half full. Those who see a half full glass are optimists and are likely to cope better with stress. The other lot tends to see the negative side of life and are more vulnerable to harmful stress.

2. Accept that there are events that you cannot control

A popular line by one the biblical wise people, St Francis of Asisi goes something like this: “God help me to change the things that I can change, to recognise the things that I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Many people struggle and get bothered by things that they cannot change. By the time they realise that no amount of effort can enable them to change them, they will have undergone continuous, stress, hence the need to realise that there are things that we cannot change and learn to live with them.

3. Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive

Aggressiveness is recognised source of unnecessary trigger for stress. It is therefore better and healthier to be assertive instead of aggressive to address potentially stressful situations with finality.

4. Learn and practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and others such as tai-chi for stress management

There are well recognised relaxation techniques that work well to help you to reduce stress. Fortunately, these techniques can be learned online, or even better through training by people who have mastered them. Yoga and meditation are well known. Another is tai chi which is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training, its health benefits and meditation.

5. Exercise regularly

Regular exercise is well recognised as something that has numerous benefits. In addition to improving blood circulation for overall wellbeing, exercise is a good way of combating stress. The key is to choose an exercise regime that fits your time schedule and to turn it into a regular habit. Other recommended stress busters are, eating healthy, well-balanced meals; learning to manage your time more effectively, setting limits appropriately and learning to say no to requests that would create excessive stress in your life; making time for hobbies, interests, and relaxation; Getting enough rest and sleep; and not relying on alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviours to reduce stress.