Blog
Jan 21
Blog: Managing Stress Through Accomplishment

Stress levels locally and across the nation are extraordinarily high due to the impact of the pandemic. Our earlier blogs have mentioned a variety of ways to manage your stress, such as rest, meditation, exercise, talking with a friend, or enjoying a hobby. 

A common frustration has been the inability to accomplish what you’ve planned. Graduation parties, marathons, vacations, and other group activities have been put on hold. Job losses may have delayed funding for a household project or other financial goal. Everyone’s plans have been changed or dropped at work, at home, and at school. All of this contributes to that stressful feeling of being trapped indoors and unable to accomplish anything. 

A good way to break through that feeling is to set new goals that fit within our current social-distancing way of life. Your endorphins rise when you can stand back and acknowledge you just did a good job, well done. Your spirits lift when you are proud of yourself. It creates hope and motivates you to do more. 

Start by recognizing that, despite derailed plans, you accomplish quite a bit every day just in maintaining your family, home, vehicle, and yourself. Count all your successes at the end of the day and try to add one more the next day and the day after. Here are a few ideas you can try: 

  • Set achievable physical training goals.
  • Create a project through sewing, painting, carpentry, gardening, or other medium.
  • Take an online class, perhaps in a new language, a hobby, or toward a professional certification.
  • Help others through phone or video chat. For example, tutoring students, cheering up a neighbor, or volunteering to talk with seniors who miss having visitors.
  • Set a goal that plays to your particular talents so you can stretch and grow.

Taking an active, goal-oriented, problem-solving approach to our pandemic way of life will help you revive that sense of control that we all lost when the pandemic first hit. You can make it fun by sharing it with a buddy, each of you encouraging the other to complete your goals. 

These suggestions may not work for you if you have been persistently sad, anxious, or depressed. It is important to contact your primary care provider so you can receive help. Here at Saratoga Hospital, we offer several resources to help you move through any escalating anxiety, sadness, anger, hopelessness, or other feelings you may be experiencing. We offer behavioral health services in our Primary Care practices, including medication management and counseling at Saratoga Community Health Center, as well as substance abuse and behavioral health counseling through our Addiction Medicine services

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) also offers useful resources addressing coronavirus anxiety, managing isolation, how to talk with your children and teens, personal stories of triumph, and more. 

If your stress or anxiety is keeping you from getting through your day for longer than a week, or you cannot shake serious feelings of sadness and depression, call your healthcare provider right away. You can also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990. 
 

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