Managing stress and anxiety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Safety Moment

    How to deal with stress amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

    As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) affects us all globally, we’re having to change the way we live our lives on a daily basis. Social distancing and isolating ourselves is not only happening in our personal lives, but also in our daily working lives through remote working or distancing ourselves colleagues in the workplace.

    This is an extremely challenging time which may cause stress and anxiety as we work through these changes. We have provided some tips on how we can reduce the anxiety and stress caused by the pandemic. Scroll on to read.

    Below are some tips on how we can reduce the anxiety and stress of from this pandemic.


    1. Accept the "new normal" of social distancing

    It's understandable to feel anxious and stressed about the uncertainty of this pandemic. It is important to understand that social distancing is a necessary precaution to protect us ALL, and while this will not last forever, the amount of social distancing time needed to make an impact will be long enough to change our normal. Accepting this is a good way to lighten the burden of personal stress.

    2. Create structure to your day

    Human beings are creatures of habit. As such, it is understandable that one may feel anxious and stressed when daily routines are disrupted. Although you may have some extra time in bed without a commute, it is recommended that you stick to your routine and continue to awake at the same time in the morning at which you normally do. This helps stabilize your internal clock and improve your sleep overall. You’ll feel less tired, more refreshed, and find it easier to focus throughout the day.

    Get ready for work as you normally would – getting ready, washed, and dressed as if you are going to the office will help you get into the mindset that you are at work. Your working hours may remain unchanged, so be ready to log in at the time you normally arrive to the office.

    It is also essential that you remember to take regular breaks

    3. Focus on positive control

    Stress and anxiety often come from a lack of control, and even more so in a situation such as this pandemic. It is important to accept that you cannot control everything and instead focus on positive control. Make a list of things that are under your control:

    • Staying active: Try exercising around the house or find online workouts. If you go outside for fresh air or a walk, make sure you are still practicing social distancing.
    • Eating well: Keep a balanced and healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
    • Staying clean: Regularly wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds and wipe down frequently used surfaces, such as door handles, counter tops, etc.
    • Staying rested: Set an alarm for when you should go to bed to ensure you get a good night's sleep.

    Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get. Ask for help if you need it! 

    4. Remember it's social isolation, not elimination

    Staying connected with friends and family is key to stress reduction. Isolation and loneliness are big stress promoters that have solutions:

    • Use tools such as Microsoft Teams and Skype to chat, call and video conference with colleagues instead of sending an email, so you don't feel like an island operating on your own.
    • Utilize FaceTime, Skype and other video chat apps for one-on-one conversations with friends and family.
    • Try holding short check-in and check-out calls at the start and end of the work day.

    5. Change your response to stress

    Your body's response to stress is physical and can create a negative health response, including high blood pressure, poor concentration, interrupted sleep and more. When you can sense stress creeping up (and it's normal to come and go), pick a go-to activity that helps relax you:

    • Step outside for fresh air
    • Exercise
    • Meditate using deep breathing techniques
    • Call family and friends

    Above all, maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.