10 Ways to Manage Stress & Anxiety

We know our community is hurting. With a steady stream of daily news around Coronavirus, mandated stay-at-home orders, quarantines, job loss and fatalities, it’s no wonder that all of us are experiencing anxiety, a sense of hopelessness and a feeling of losing our grip on life. During these troubling times, it’s all too easy to immediately jump to “survival mode”– and ignore our mental and emotional health and wellness.

But Sound believes in putting people first, and that includes all members of our community. Through our Sound Urgent Care model – a 24 hour a day, seven day a week program that triages our clients and gets them to the “essential services” they need – we are hearing, first hand, what people are saying and how they are feeling.

There is tremendous stress, anxiety and overall emotional disruption. Please know this: we are here, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support and help, or provide recommendations to resources to help you. Just give us a call at (206) 302-2300.

Nurturing and fostering good mental, emotional and physical health is crucial during these troubling times. There are simple actions you can do to take care of yourself and we hope that the information below will prove helpful to everyone who needs it. Here is a list of a few of our suggestions, and an article recently written by one of our team members, Nev Trakic.

1. Remember that there are things you CAN control right now: Make a simple list of things you can control, like what you eat, taking a walk, calling a friend

2. Avoid Too Much Bad News: Manage consumption of news and social media: While it is tempting to increase our exposure to the news to learn all that is going on, doing so can be an overwhelming process for many people, leading to increased anxiety and depression. We suggest balancing exposure to the news with content that lifts moods, brings more humor and reinforces calm. Some experts suggest up to 10 minutes of news a day.

3. Make Sure You’re Getting Reliable Information: Similarly, it is easy to be exposed to news that does not come from a reputable source. To ensure that you are reading accurate updates, Sound and other experts suggest the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, King County or other County Health sites, John Hopkins’ Coronavirus Resource Center as straightforward and factual sources of Coronavirus information.

4. Get Plenty of Exercise and Physical Activity: It is no secret that physical activity can give an outlet to reduce stress and take your mind off of things. Studies show that a little exercise each day can boost happiness.

5. Eat Right: Though it is tempting to reach for comfort food during times of crisis, we suggest opting for foods that are healthy and high in protein and potassium, which can help to regulate moods.

6. Stick to Routines: During uncertain times, creating and maintaining a routine is a simple way to gain control of your life and keep your mind calm and focused. As much as possible, try to keep the same schedule you did before the crisis, such as wake times, sleep times, family time, exercise schedule, work and other activities that help you structure your life.

7. Just Breathe: Believe it or not, one simple way to reduce stress is to practice deep, meditative breathing. This practice can slow your heart rate, restore a feeling of calm and regulate your emotions.

8. Make Connections: Isolation is a surefire way to increase anxiety and depression, so make sure to keep connections with loved ones and friends. These connections, by use of Zoom, FaceTime, over the phone or by other means, provide vital outlets for you to remain connected, share feelings and feel part of a community. These days there are numerous ways for you to stay entertained with your friends and family: taking virtual tours together of museums, national parks and other sites via Google Arts & Culture, tune in to live-streamed concerts and other events or play online games with friends.

9. Support others: Helping others who are experiencing stress, anxiety and other issues can bring therapeutic benefit to you and promotes a greater sense of community. It truly feels good to help others!

10. Love yourself: Stress and anxiety can derail our self-care. But it is important to take a little time for yourself to do something you enjoy – reading, a hobby, being with friends virtually, listening or playing music.