This COVID-19 pandemic can feel overwhelming as most of us have had to adjust to a new normal.
It’s important to understand and identify new stresses that have surfaced over the past few weeks.
Whether it’s a change in job status, increased responsibilities, or caring for others, it’s important to take a mental and physical check-in and realize the emotions you are feeling are real and often need to be addressed.
During this uncertain time, emotions including, anxiety, anger, and discouragement may manifest as muscle tension, fatigue, sleeplessness, and headache.
The goal here is to decrease stress (drop your cortisol, or stress hormone level) in order to increase your immunity. We need our immunity to be high to stay healthy during this time.
Additionally, anything you can do organically to boost levels of dopamine and oxytocin (the good hormones) will improve overall mood stability and health.A post shared by board-certified New Jersey plastic surgeon Alexis L. Parcells MD (@alexisparcellsmd)
Here are some strategies to help you through the pandemic.
1. Check-in and Take a Self-assessment.
How are things going? How can I make things better?
It’s often helpful to do a self-check in 2-3 times a day to understand when and why you are stressed. Are their certain triggers or parts of the day that deviate from a good flow? Insight is powerful here in making positive change.
2. Establish a Routine
Establishing and maintaining a routine will not only keep you organized and lower your levels of stress, but the predictability of it will make life a bit more enjoyable. Of course, the routine may veer off schedule from time to time, but by focusing on things you can control you will be more able to cope with unpredictable events.
3. Optimize Technology
Technology - it can be helpful, or unhelpful. Identify your emotions as you interact with technology throughout the day. Spend more time engaging in joyous experiences (such as facetiming with loved ones) and less so by reading end-of-the-world blogs or catastrophic commentaries. You are the master of your own mind.
4. Listen more
If there was a podcast you couldn’t get enough of, or an audiobook you were dying to start, now is the time. Plan this activity into your routine (cooking, cleaning) so it makes the mundane more exciting.
5. Be grateful.
Chances are, that if you are reading this, that you are healthy and safe. Think about what you can be grateful for. Your health, family, friends, beautiful weather are just some examples. Hopefully, you can find something to focus presently on.
6. Join a support group.
Many support groups are still meeting in parks with social distancing guidelines (AA) and there are many ways to find good support on social media or online. If there is something you are specifically dealing with in addition to this pandemic (i.e. cancer diagnosis), make sure you are touching base with your physicians and social support team to make the best of this unprecedented time.
7. Accept the things you cannot change.
Hair turning grey? Due for a dental checkup? Botox fading? C'est la vie, my friend.
1. Eat Well & Drink Water
Now is a great time to identify how certain foods make you feel.
Fuel your body with a healthy, well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Avoid sugars and processed foods that can lead to mood swings and drastic changes in your insulin levels. Give your body the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.
Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Earplugs, eye masks, noise machines or fans - whatever it takes. Zone out street noise and try to obtain uninterrupted sleep if possible. If you can nap, and find that to be a stress reliever, go for it.
3. Exercise and stretch every day.
Spend time outside on a walk or run. Dust off that bicycle or scooter. Get moving!
4. Take care of your skin.
Spring is here and summer is around the corner. Get in a routine where you are using daily SPF (35+) and protective clothing if you are going to have prolonged sun exposure to prevent a burn.
Remember, this pandemic is stressful for both you and your children.
Children and teens tend to react based on what they see from the adults around them.
Providing a calm and confident environment is the best way to support your children.
Keep with a regular routine that is inclusive of learning and activities and plenty of play.A post shared by Alexis L. Parcells MD (@alexisparcellsmd)
Children, like adults, thrive in an environment of healthy foods, water, sleep, and exercise.
Talk to your child about COVID-19 and answer questions in a way your child can understand. Reassure her or him they are safe and that it is OK to be upset.
Limit exposure to news coverage as children can misinterpret what they see or hear.
Lastly, recognize your limitations and be kind to yourself if you cannot accomplish all of the scholastic or other goals you have been tasked with.
Giving has been shown to increase happiness on a molecular level. Look for ways to contribute to your community. Call or text an older relative or neighbor to check in. Consider donating to a local food bank. Write a card or knit a mask for your local first responders. You may surprise yourself by how good you feel afterwards.
If you are experiencing any of the following to the point that they are interfering with your daily ability to function and outside the norm, contact a physician or psychologist for help and guidance:
Do not feel embarrassed if you need help. Be empowered, and get the help you deserve.
Please Stay healthy, stay safe, and remember, we are all in this together.
Parcells Plastic Surgery offers the most advanced surgical and cosmetic medical spa treatments to women in New Jersey.
Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alexis Parcells is here to educate and empower you to celebrate your natural beauty.4 Industrial Way West #101, Eatontown, New Jersey 07724