In unprecedented times, here are some easy ways to reduce stress

Managing stress can have major impact on health.

It’s a stressful time, to say the least, as we navigate through the coronavirus pandemic. But stress can have a major impact on your health, so it’s important to know how to manage it.

Here are a few tips on how to best do that.

1. Talk positively to yourself.

Instead of berating yourself for anything — which can increase stress — use positive self-talk, which can calm you down and help to control stress, according to the American Heart Association.

A few examples of switching up negativity to positivity include:

  • I hate when this happens. —> I can handle this by just taking one step at a time.
  • I can’t do this. —> I’ve got this. I’ll do the best I can.
  • I can’t believe I screwed this up. —> We all make mistakes — it’s part of being human. I can fix it.

Take the time to practice positive self-talk every day, whether it’s before you get out of bed, before you go to bed, or while you’re working. It’s a great thing for kids to learn, too.

2. Practice stress-stopping actions.

Maybe some situations call for different actions. Regardless, the American Heart Association says knowing you have tools when you’re starting to get stressed will help you deal better. For example:

  • Take a few slow, deep breaths until you feel yourself unclench.
  • Count to 10 before you speak or react.
  • Work out or do something active.
  • Walk away from the situation. Handle it later after things have calmed down.
  • If you practice either, try a quick prayer or meditation to get some perspective.
  • Go for a walk — even if just a quick one — to think things through.

3. Practice stress-busting activities.

Finding your happy place by doing things you enjoy is a natural way to relieve stress — even if just for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • You may have an idea of what that stress reliever may be, but if you need some ideas, try one of these:
  • Draw, color or play a musical instrument.
  • Read a book.
  • Take a relaxing bath.
  • Meditate or practice yoga.
  • Work in the garden.
  • Go for a run or a bike ride.
  • Listen to some music.

The key is to break that cycle of stress in a way that works for you.