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Coping with Stress and Anxiety During California's Reopening

June means summer, sunshine, and longer days. However, June now also means the beginning of a post pandemic world. As countries and states re-open and vaccines continue to get rolled out, you may be feeling stressed or anxious over what this “new normal” will look like. In this article, we will dive into the healthy ways you can manage stress and anxiety during this major transition and everyday.

1. Exercise. Exercising regularly has some significant benefits both for your short term and long term health. The CDC recommends that adults between the ages of 18-64 do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity and at least 2 days a week of muscle strengthening activities. Physical activity not only strengthens your bones and muscles, helping you stay healthy over time, but also helps you sleep better.

2. Muting/Turning Off Electronic Devices. A great way to recalibrate is to turn off or mute your electronic devices. The lights from our screens and constant influx of information we consume can feel overwhelming. Putting down your devices and focusing on other activities or hobbies you enjoy can help you avoid burnout.

3. Taking Time to Unwind. Try integrating breaks into your day by scheduling them ahead of time. Carve out a specific time for you to get up, stretch or focus on your breathing and make it a part of your daily routine.

4. Sleep. Getting a good night’s rest is important to energize you for the day ahead, but it can be hard to fall asleep when you are feeling stressed or anxious. Try limiting screen time at least one hour before bed so you can fall asleep faster and sleep longer.

5. Eat Healthy, Balanced Meals. When we eat good, we feel good. Incorporating the 5 food groups into your diet can give you the energy and fuel you need to have a productive and healthy life. Additionally, try limiting your caffeine intake. Caffeine can exacerbate symptoms of stress and anxiety.

6. Practice Self-Care. Practicing deep breathing, yoga or meditation can help you feel more grounded. Is yoga not for you? Try listening to music or taking a walk outdoors to reconnect with yourself and the environment around you.

7. Journal. Writing down any thoughts and/or emotions you experience when you get stressed or anxious can help bring clarity over why you may be feeling this way. Journaling sorts through those complex thoughts and emotions so that you can approach them with confidence.

8. Stay Connected with Friends and Family. In a time of physical distancing, it is more important than ever that we remain in communication with friends and family. Give them a call, Skype or Facetime the next time you feel stressed or anxious and talk about it with someone you trust.

We hope these tips are useful to you the next time you are feeling stressed or anxious. If you would like additional support, please visit Sequoia Strong where you will be able to search for a variety of support resources including local mental health resources personally vetted and recommended by the Sequoia Healthcare District.