Stress and summer usually don’t go hand in hand, but things are a bit different this year. The usual margaritas on the beach or barbecues with friends are on hold indefinitely. During such times, prioritizing your mental health is important, and mindfulness techniques can help.
How to Combat Stress About Coronavirus
For most of us, not worrying about the constant bad news is impossible, as we’re greeted with numbers and statistics wherever we turn. Still, it’s extremely important to minimize the effect on our mental health as much as possible and try to enjoy your summer one day at a time.
Tapping into the mindfulness technique of being present in the moment and reminding yourself where you are whenever anxiety hits is a great way to fight these sensations. If reading about the growing numbers is elevating your heart rate or making you feel uneasy, close your news app and your eyes.
Inhale and exhale deeply, and drop your shoulders so you feel your whole body sinking toward the ground. Take a few more deep breaths, and then open your eyes. Observe where you are. Look at your surroundings and connect with your senses.
Touch something close to you with a pleasant texture, smell the flowers on your table, listen to the chirping birds outside, or just notice how the sun brightens the entire room. This will help ground you.
How to Deal with Work Stress
Many people have canceled vacation plans and will be working through the summer to, hopefully, save and use their days off later this year. This means you’ll likely be working when you should be frolicking in the sun or otherwise enjoying yourself. It can feel like a punishment.
Waking up to your alarm feeling angry and stressed about every email is enough to drive anyone nuts. Instead, try to be more mindful of your attitude and change it as the day progresses. Notice how your brows tense up and your jaw clenches as you reply to the millionth email of the day. Stop and purposely relax your face when you feel it tense up.
Stand up and stretch, or grab a glass of water. Take a walk in the park or call a friend. Whatever you do, just don’t ignore it. Try to pay attention to these little stressor signs during the day and do your best to address them immediately.
Combatting Stress Over Canceled Trips
Unfortunately, canceling your vacation plans might also mean postponing seeing your family and loved ones. The feelings of sadness and frustration can easily be overwhelming. Emotions are hard to control—especially if you’re homesick or heartbroken.
Nevertheless, it’s important to take a step back and try to see the bigger picture. The risk of traveling and potentially infecting your loved ones is high. Remaining apart will hurt much less than making someone you love sick. Keep this in mind whenever you get teary-eyed. Schedule frequent virtual calls, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.
Be present during those calls and savor every moment you get to talk to your loved ones. Stay positive and keep your hopes up until you finally do get to see each other again in person.
Dealing with the Stress of Being Stuck at Home
Knowing you can’t go anywhere this summer besides your home is definitely a bitter pill to swallow. Instead of letting it ruin your whole summer, though, focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t.
Explore your local area. Go on hiking trails you’ve never visited or check out beaches you’ve never explored. Take some short weekend trips to fulfill your travel cravings. Just because you can’t go to an exotic destination or party in your favorite club doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.
Grab a map and check out your surrounding area. You’ll likely see something you want to check out or an area you want to explore. Sometimes, you don’t have to go very far to make a new discovery.
How to Avoid Worrying About the Future
The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has most people feeling pretty uneasy about the future. Worries about how things will play out this fall with workplaces, schools, and so on, have most people concerned.
Some reports claim another wave of the virus could hit, requiring another lockdown and businesses to shut their doors once again. Others claim a vaccine will be on the way and things will get better. And to top it all off, there’s the constant arguing about how serious (or not) the pandemic is.
All of these possible outcomes don’t offer much clarity or stability. It’s only natural that so many people are afraid, anxious, or stressed out. The best thing you can do to counteract all of it is do your best to enjoy your summer. Avoid thinking about the future and focus on the present.
Try to live each day in the moment, without worrying about what might happen in the fall. No one knows, so there’s no reason to stress about anything anyone says.
Overthinking is never good, but especially not when it’s all negative—that only makes things worse in the long run.
This summer might look different than you expected, but it’ll do you no good to stress about it until September. Take each day as it comes and focus on self-care. These mindfulness techniques can help you learn to be present in every moment.