To Manage Your Stress During the Coronavirus, Try Taking Meaningful Breaks

The problem is big, but the solution starts small.

S_Photo/ Shutterstock
S_Photo/ Shutterstock

Since the pandemic began, Thrive Global has surveyed over 8,000 Americans on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 82% of individuals report feeling that the pandemic has had a bigger negative impact on their stress than any other event in history. When you feel like your stress levels are spiking, it might be your brain’s way of signaling that you need a quick break to reset.

Whether we’re working from home, caring for children, or spending too much time watching the news (or all of the above!) taking frequent breaks throughout the day to do something that energizes us is key for our well-being. 

There’s no one “right” way to take a break; the key is to let your mind rest and recharge, even for a few minutes. If you’re able to step outside for a dose of fresh air, you may want to do so. According to a study published in Scientific Reports, when people take breaks from their schedules to enjoy a view of nature, they are happier and less stressed when they get back to work. If going outside isn’t possible for you right now, that’s OK: you can still take advantage of the mental benefits of looking at nature. Set your screensaver to a beautiful photo from your last trip, print that same photo out and keep it handy at your desk, or create your own little view of greenery with a few small desk plants.

Of course, getting a dose of nature isn’t the only way to destress. Today, try one of the Microsteps below to help you disconnect, recharge, and boost your resilience. 

Schedule time to go outside. Even a few minutes will help you recharge. Vitamin D from the sun is critical for our immune system health and overall mental well-being.

Whenever a call ends early, take an extra two minutes for a stretch break. Fitting in movement is particularly key when you’re not moving during a commute.

Set a news cut-off time at the end of the day. Setting news consumption limits helps us get a better night’s sleep and keep things in perspective.

Schedule breaks for movement throughout the day. For example, walk around your home (or even around the room) while speaking on the phone.

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