Stress is bad for your immune system, here are ways to decompress

Steph Coelho

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You're probably aware that stress has devastating effects on the body. High levels of stress can cause blood pressure to skyrocket and even leave you with an upset stomach. 

Managing stress supports your immune system, in addition to your mental wellbeing, both of which are necessary during a pandemic. 

But what's a person to do during universally stressful times like these? How can you safely manage stress levels in a situation that's wildly beyond your control? 

Here are a few strategies to help you manage your anxiety and stress during this trying time. Are you already calm, cool, and collected? Share these suggestions with friends and family who might be struggling to stay relaxed.


Stay social

Keep in touch with friends and family. Social interaction is a basic human need and has the potential to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Self-quarantine and social distancing don't mean you need to be cut off from the world entirely. Call up friends you haven't spoken to in a while. Check up on vulnerable relatives by giving them a ring. Use chat tools to stay in contact. Get some time face-to-face with the use of video chat tools like FaceTime and Skype. 


Go outside

It's best to avoid group runs, but there's no reason you shouldn't get your blood pumping during a solo activity. Keeping your distance from others is easy if you're up at the crack of dawn! Any kind of exercise will help limit your stress levels. Staying active also helps to boost your mood, and it's a productive way to keep busy if you're off from work at the moment. 



Grab a yoga mat or meditation pillow and clear your mind for a moment. Meditation relaxes the mind and is an excellent stress management tool. If you're unsure how to get started, don't worry -- there are plenty of guided meditation apps available for your smartphone or tablet. Many offer free trials so you can test the waters before you commit. 


Talk to a professional

If your anxiety levels are sky-high, it may be worth seeking help from a mental health professional. There are plenty of apps available online that allow patients to speak safely and securely over the phone, via chat, or video with mental health experts. Find one that works for you if you need someone to talk to during these times.


Log off

Get off the Internet! Stop scrolling mindlessly. Stay informed, of course, but there's no need to stay online 24/7. Delete the apps that are causing your stress levels to increase (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) and allow yourself to unplug. Check in at predetermined times instead of every few minutes.


Let yourself indulge

There's no rulebook that says you need to be constantly productive while socially distancing or self-isolating. Grab the remote, lie back, and watch something you know you're going to love. Might we recommend trashy reality TV? It's a surefire way to take your mind off of things for a while. Bummed that you can't watch with your friends? Host a virtual watch party and tune in with friends via the Netflix Party extension for Google Chrome or just FaceTime each other while you each watch separately.


Stick to a routine

If everything seems a bit askew right now and it's making you feel crazy, try sticking to your routine as much as possible. If you're working from home, make a point to get dressed instead of lounging in your PJs all day. Keep it comfy, though. There's no need to don stuffy, restrictive clothing. Sweatpants and loungewear are perfectly okay!


Lend a helping hand

Feeling helpless? Being stuck inside unable to contribute can do that do a person. Find out whether any local organizations are mobilizing to help vulnerable persons during this pandemic. Follow established safety protocols and ensure you keep a safe distance and help deliver foodstuffs to the elderly or disabled population in your local area. If you're immunocompromised or have underlying medical conditions and can't risk leaving the house for any reason, donate money or supplies to local homeless shelters if you have the means.


Exercise your brain

Games that require focus and utilize brain power are the perfect solution for high-stress levels. They provide a welcome distraction from worrying, and they're fun! Puzzles are particularly effective because they require intense concentration. If you're at home with your family or with a partner, consider breaking out a board game to keep spirits high.

Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds. 

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