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 not getting enough rest and relaxation. There are a number of new sleep gadgets and apps that can help you calm your mind and breath, allowing for a more restful night of sleep. Here are some of the newest sleep aids and apps available, which promise to enhance sleep and allow you to survive a pandemic.


Apps and Sleep Gadgets


SpaceMasks are single-use heated eye masks with essential Jasmine oil. These eye masks promise to help you ease into sleep with relaxing heat and essential oil.


The Nanobionic Sleep System technology promises to help promote restful sleep and an improvement in blood flow and the recovery process while you sleep.


Under Armour’s Recovery Sheet Set and Pillow Case uses far infrared technology to help promote better sleep.


Lunya Restore Loungewear uses pima cotton that promises to increase blood flow to help you feel restored and recharged when you wake up.


Weighted Blankets are getting a lot of positive reviews for helping to ease anxiety and promote a restful night of sleep. There are lots of brands on the market so make sure you carefully review and compare prices and design for your specific needs. Here is the URL for the top-rated weighted blanket as provided on Amazon.com.


Sea Sounds Ocean Nature Sounds App for Android devices can help you feel relaxed enough to help induce sleep.


AutoSleep App for Apple’s watch can help detect when you go to sleep, wake up, and analyze the quality your quality sleep.


The Pzizz Sleep, Nap, and Focus App can help you ease into a power nap or help you regain your focus.


The Sleep Well App uses hypnosis to help you east into restful sleep.


The Digipill App uses a technique called psychoacoustics to change your perception and help you improve or change how you sleep.


I hope one or more of the sleep aids or apps can help you manage any stress you may be feeling and allows you to get a good night of sleep. If you find that you are unable to manage feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, you may need to talk to a professional therapist from your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). You can also ask your primary care doctor for a referral to see a specialist. Finally, hearing about the Coronavirus pandemic repeatedly can be very upsetting. Therefore, it may be helpful if you take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories about the pandemic.


Be well and sleep well!


Disclosure: (I am a writer and editor for the National Institutes of Health. Information contained in this blog post are not associated with my role at NIH).


Disclaimer: The author of this article is not receiving any money for the reference or promotion of any of the featured items and applications provided in this blog post.


Source

Mayo Clinic. (2018, November). Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick? Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757


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