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Managing Stress During A Pandemic

April is stress awareness month and so many of us are at the tipping point, with high levels of stress, anxiety, and mental anguish from the outbreak of the Coronavirus or COVID-19. Most Americans have been forced to shelter in place at home, work from home, and practice social distancing, while we all wait to get back to our normal life and existence. Unfortunately, millions of Americans have lost their jobs during this pandemic. To make matters worse, unemployment and federal stimulus checks may not arrive for weeks, which will cause a great deal of stress and anxiety, for those who have lost their jobs or have been furloughed.

We all know that too much stress can be harmful to our health. When our bodies and minds are consumed with prolonged stress it can be very difficult to sleep, eat, digest our foods, and function at a high level at work or at home. Prolonged stress can wreak havoc on our immune system and put us at risk of chronic disorders including depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. Getting enough sleep and eating healthy are two of the best self-care acts you can practice to decrease stress and improve your mental and physical health.

Stress can manifest differently for each of us. However, in order to successfully manage our stress, anxiety, and fear during a pandemic, we must prioritize getting adequate sleep. Getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night is one of the most important first steps you can take to manage stress. Sleep affects almost every part of our body, from our brains, heart, lungs, metabolism, immune system, and our mood.

If you are experiencing periods of unmanageable stress, try adding some form of exercise or yoga. If you experience prolonged stress that lasts for more than a few days, you should consider speaking to your primary care doctor for help. Exercise can help by allowing you to shift your thoughts away from your problems. In addition, the slow breathing techniques that are paired with yoga poses can really help you feel relaxed, which can lower the parasympathetic nervous system. It’s no wonder the business of sleep is a multi-million dollar business.

Technology has advanced almost every aspect of our lives from how we communicate, use transportation, watch movies, light our homes, and listen to music. Sleep technology is proving to be a booming business because so many of us are