Coping With Stress in the Midst of a Pandemic

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The circumstances brought on by COVID-19 can create new stressors for everyone, and finding ways to cope with the challenges of the situation are crucial to one’s wellbeing

Sarah Cassavaugh, Staff Reporter

In the midst of the pandemic, the world is struggling to find a balance between living virtually and in person. Everyone is stressed and struggling to find and manage a new normal. More people are finding themselves looking for healthy coping mechanisms, as increasing stressors breathe down their necks.

A coping mechanism is “an adaptation to environmental stress that is based on conscious or unconscious choice and that enhances control over behavior or gives psychological comfort” (dictionary.com). When we think of coping mechanisms, we typically think of something positive, but in reality, sometimes we fall into negative habits that can actually cause more harm than good. Some people cut others off, and other people just try their best to block out all negative emotions. This, however, is not a healthy way to deal with stress. While it may feel uncomfortable to confront negativity in the moment, it is an integral part of getting better.

One way people confront the negativity in their lives is by writing in a journal. If you want to try journaling, you could start by writing down three good and three bad things that’ve happened to you that day. By doing this, you’re taking the time to acknowledge the negativity without letting it control you, and reminding yourself that there’s always some light to balance out the dark.

Journaling is just one of several positive coping mechanisms.

“Talking to someone helps!” senior Courtney Bridges said.

Southern Lehigh offers amazing guidance counselors that are here to help students with any problems they may have. For students, it can be as simple as sending an email to make an appointment at a time that is convenient for both of you.

Additionally, one of the most popular and effective methods to cope with stress is exercising and playing sports. Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel happier. When you’re exercising, you tend to only focus on the task at hand, and you don’t have time to worry about life.

“Playing a sport has helped me tremendously throughout the years,” senior Brianna West said. “Of course, playing sports does cause a lot of stress, especially in competition, but doing something you love when you’re not happy is always a mood lifter.”

Being active isn’t the only way to cope. Meditation has grown in popularity since the pandemic hit. With the increased free-time granted by staying at home, more and more people choose to fill the gap with calming meditation.

“Most simply put—meditation is the practice of being fully immersed in the present moment by not indulging in the thoughts of the ego,” according to the website Spiritually Inspired. “This act allows us to tune into the subconscious mind, where healing & ascension takes place.”

Smartphone apps such as Headspace allow users access to a portion of its guided meditations for free. Meditation helps to block out the noise of life and find some peace within.

There are many great resources out there, whether you find them online, outdoors, or at school.  While there is no singular coping mechanism that is right for everyone, we can all rest assured that everyone is going through the same thing, and we’re all in this together. While at times it may feel like it, you’re not alone.