Stress and The Ever-Changing New Normal

Have you met a person who has not been affected by the isolation, health issues or restrictions caused by the Covid-19 virus? According to a recent poll by the American Psychiatric Association, more than one-third of Americans (36%) reported that coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health and over half (59%) indicated it’s having a serious impact on their day-to-day lives. Consequences of coronavirus have been the “new normal” to which we have been attempting to adapt.                          

More recent in our world, civil unrest, exposed systemic racism, horrific murders reported in the news, protests and property damage have now engaged our thoughts, emotions and our collective consciousness with a sense of unrelenting change and uncertainty. 

Our bodies react to uncertainty in a variety of ways. Many include our primitive fight, flight or freeze survival responses. The stress of collective grief, uncertain dangers, and ever-changing circumstances can cause not only mental health issues, but physical symptoms as well.  So how do we cope with the stress of our ever-changing “new normal”?

According to Psychology Today, these daily actions can help you cope with stress and uncertainty:

  • Practice kindness, be of service, and show compassion toward yourself as well as others.
  • Hydrate/drink water—mild dehydration exacerbates stress and anxiety.
  • Be aware of your breathing – make your breathing slower and deeper. Stress and uncertainty create rapid and shallow breathing.
  • Reach out to someone, by phone or video chat, who will listen with presence and emotional availability.
  • Engage in some physical movement.
  • Do at least one thing that aligns with your core values—something you can genuinely feel good about.

Written By: Allison Wray