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Learn to recognize and lower stress

Amy Weiss | Apr 28, 2020

Throughout our lives, a lot of things can cause us stress, from deadlines to relationships to traffic jams. For many people today, the current COVID-19 pandemic (and its effects) is a significant source of stress. That’s why we want to provide resources to help you or your loved ones recognize and lower stress. If you’re feeling stressed, you are not alone.

plant in windowBe aware of these potential signs of stress related to a crisis:

  • Feeling sad, numb, hopeless, confused, forgetful, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Feeling sore or in pain
  • Having very little or no energy
  • Pulling away from people
  • Sleeping or eating problems

If you are stressed, doing some or all of these things may help:

  • Check in on friends and family
  • Do things to relax (breathe deeply or listen to music)
  • Eat healthy, nutritious meals
  • Focus on what you can do instead of what you cannot do
  • Get enough sleep
  • Move your body and exercise
  • Take breaks from the news and social media
  • Talk with and listen to others
  • Try to keep a normal schedule

There are also a number of things you should avoid, as they can actually add to your stress:

  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than you should
  • Avoiding thinking or talking about the event
  • Avoiding family, friends, or activities
  • Watching a lot of TV and social media
  • Playing a lot of computer or video games
  • Doing risky things like driving dangerously or abusing substances

Additionally, psychological first aid (PFA) may be a helpful tool to manage and reduce stress. Learn more about PFA, view information from the Minnesota Department of Health, or explore this PFA tutorial.

Adapted from Are You Stressed? by the Minnesota Department of Health

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