By Brittany Heard | Lead adviser, Foster Group

During this pandemic, a lot of us are feeling stress, whether it’s tied to health concerns, finances, relationships, job loss, lack of child care, market turbulence or something else. Some of us are more likely to read every news article and get as much information as possible, while others are more likely to tune out the noise and ignore it.

These responses have to do with our fight or flight reactions. If you tend to have a response to fight, you may try to control and fix as much as possible. If you tend to run away and ignore problems, you are using a flight reaction.

While neither reaction is inherently bad, it is important to understand what you are thinking and feeling as it relates to stress.

I’ve heard several ideas related to managing the stress of the pandemic. If you are feeling anxious, consider trying a couple of these ideas.

Journaling
Journaling about your thoughts and feelings can help manage stress and anxiety. Whether you are lonely because you live alone or overwhelmed by a household full of people, journaling can help you express your emotions. I was feeling anxious at the beginning of working from home with the whole family and journaled about it a couple of days. Getting my emotions from my brain onto paper helped me process what I was feeling instead of bottling it up inside.

Limit news consumption
If you tend to overconsume media about the pandemic and it becomes stressful, perhaps you might limit yourself to reading the news only at certain points in the day. For example, you could pick three separate times that you can read news about the pandemic, and cut yourself off after that.

Limit worry
Anxiety about the future can be a big stressor. Whether you are concerned about finding a job or when the stock market will recover, focus on what is happening today. Give yourself only 10 minutes to think about your concern, and then tell yourself you are done worrying for today. Focusing on what is happening today can help lessen worry about the future.

Connect with others
Connect with others virtually. If you are feeling lonely, it is important to continue connecting with others even if you cannot be with them in person. Thankfully, technology affords us many ways of doing this. Reaching out to someone who is lonely can also help you feel better. Spend some time connecting.

Exercise
While many of us are confined to our homes most of the time, I appreciate family walks in our neighborhood. It is a good way for the four of us to get out of the house, with the oldest riding his tricycle and the youngest riding in the stroller. The exercise and fresh air help me feel more positive.

Practice gratitude
Spend each day writing down five to 10 things for which you are thankful. Focusing on things we are grateful for can help shift our focus from worry and anxiety toward a more positive outlook.

While it is easy to become anxious or stressed, there are ways to calm your anxieties. Try one of the ideas I just mentioned, such as journaling, exercising or expressing gratitude. While you cannot control the outcomes of the pandemic, focus on monitoring and managing your stress in ways you can control.

Brittany Heard works with Foster Group clients to help them define and pursue their financial goals. She enjoys helping clients make small changes that are intended to benefit them long-term. Please see important disclosure information.