Minimize Stress During a Pandemic or Other Life Crisis
by Nancy Hearn, CNC

do things that make you happy

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Understanding how to minimize stress during a pandemic or any other life crisis is extremely important in protecting one’s health and well being.

Without question, stress (either acute or chronic) is the most significant contributor to any disease and it weakens the immune system.

Thus, the following are just a few simple reminders about how to minimize stress in your daily life during the coronavirus pandemic or any other significant life challenge.

Stay Hydrated!

Since water is involved in every single function of the body, becoming even slightly dehydrated is a major stress factor. The way the body responds to stress is also similar to the way it responds to dehydration.

Basically, the body assumes a survival mode, and takes the fight-or-flight position. Dehydration and stress in the human body is a vicious cycle. Dehydration causes stress, and stress can cause further dehydration. 

Exercise Daily for at Least 20 Minutes

You don’t have to do an hour-long session to get benefits.  According to health experts, just 20 to 25 minutes of brisk walking a day may add anywhere from three to seven years to your life span.

Walking is also an antidepressant, it improves cognitive function and may slow the onset of dementia.

The experts advise that everyone should do at least 20 minutes of walking or jogging a day, especially given the sedentary lifestyles and changes in diet that have contributed to high death rates from heart disease. 

De-Stress Through Breathing Technique

The most effective breathing exercise that I have found to minimize stress in the mind and body is this: 

  1. Close your mouth and breathe in through your nose naturally.
  2. Hold your breath for 4 counts.
  3. Breathe out through your nose naturally.

Do this for as many breaths as you want, multiple times a day. Most people don’t know that holding one's breath is also the most effective breathing technique for oxygenating the body.

Control Information and Communication

Your home environment should be a safe haven of peace. If watching the Covid-19 news, for example, makes you anxious, turn it off. Just read or watch enough to keep you fully informed.

When dealing with a pandemic or other crisis, communication is critical. Discuss all relevant information from experts about the pandemic or any other natural disaster or personal challenge with with family members or anyone you have contact with to make sure you are all on the same page.

Be sure to reach out and stay connected with the people you are closest to. 

Focus on the Big Picture

It is so easy to let everything related to the pandemic (or whatever your most pressing life challenge is) to completely absorb all of our thoughts and conversations.

Without minimizing the seriousness of challenge of the moment, try to stay focused on the big picture—life before and after the pandemic or other crisis. Our society and many of us individually have already survived one or more serious crises.

No matter how uncomfortable life can get, we can still take the time to think about what is good in our lives.

Also take time to do those things that can make you feel connected (if not happy), such as gardening, meditation, walking on the beach, playing with your dog, or listening to music. 

The pandemic is just another black dot on a big sheet of white paper. While we take precautions and deal with the ramifications and unknowns of that black dot, we can still stay focused on all the “white space,” in our lives, primarily meaningful relationships.

Reference “A Daily Walk Can Add Seven Years to Your Life,” 2015.

Further reading . . .

Dehydration Causes Stress and Stress Can Cause Further Dehydration

Return from Minimize Stress During a Pandemic or Other Life Crisis to Health Benefits of Drinking Water

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Visitor Comments

"This was the best and most straight forward info on the net yet. I asked a question and got an answer that made sense. Thank you so much!" - Linderlinder

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"Thank you for the information, Nancy. I appreciate it. Your article and findings are very helpful,  referring to dehydration." -  Carolyn

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