Reducing Stress at Home

The current COVID-19 outbreak has forced many people to work from home.  While the idea of working from home may sound appealing and appear to be a wonderful break from the stress of the workplace, there are many new challenges that can add stress and anxiety to an already intense situation.  Additionally, stress and anxiety are playing a bigger part in our lives, as we worry about the health and wellness of our family, friends, and neighbors.  During an American Library Association webinar, “Libraries and COVID-19: Managing Strategies and Stress”, Loren McClain, a certified instructor for the National Council of Behavioral Health and Mental Health First Aid USA, shares some wonderful tips for adjusting to a new daily routine that focuses on staying home while still accomplishing work and home tasks:

  • One of the best ways to reduce stress with family and friends is to share accurate and empirical information regarding the disease
  • Try to engage in activities that bring you joy, modifying them to reduce your risk of exposure or find alternate ways to ensure that you don’t need to leave the house.  Check YouTube and Pinterest for craft activities as well as exercise and yoga routines
  • Focus on positive thinking, focusing on what you can do and control rather than the negatives of being stuck at home or what is going on in the world around you
  • Limit your exposure to news and social media.  The constant bombardment about the disease and the woes of the world will make you more stressed and depressed, causing you to miss opportunities for fun and memories with your family
  • Try to keep your home organized, predictable, and tidy.  One of the few things we have control over right now is our own home.  This is a perfect time to practice Spring Cleaning and get the entire family involved.  Even a little progress can make you feel accomplished and help focus your thinking on staying positive.
  • Try to stick to a daily routine you are accustomed to, such as a morning walk or reading a newspaper.  Being able to salvage some parts of your daily routine will help keep the feeling of chaos from keeping in.
  • Develop a new quarantine ritual or plan with your family to follow so that everyone can get adjusted to the new way of life.  This will help everyone understand each other’s priorities throughout the day and allow for the structure that we usually get from a workplace or school.
  • Set small goals to see results and gain a sense of confidence.  This includes work goals and household tasks.
  • Watch your screen-time.  With devices constantly around us from TVs, to computers, to mobile devices, we are constantly focused on screens throughout our day.  Follow the 20/20/20 rule to reset and refocus your brain and help prevent eye strain and headaches – For every 20 minutes of screen-time, look away and focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • If you are dealing with higher levels of stress or anxiety, including difficulty adjusting to a home-bound life, check with your health insurance company about telehealth options.  Some companies are waiving restrictions for mental health counseling.

To view a recorded version of this webinar, please visit https://alapublishing.webex.com/recordingservice/sites/alapublishing/recording/71af3c666df243e3b38186e214f3cf54.  Loren McClain speaks from 43:00 – 1:00:00.

About Andrew Dauphinee

Education and learning are passions of mine. Lifelong learning is a core part of who I am and I strive to pass that desire for information on to everyone I meet. As the Instruction and Outreach Librarian, it is my goal to provide quality, informative, and relevant programming to meet the diverse needs of our patrons. Please contact me regarding programming at adauphinee@njstatelib.org.