By now you have probably seen many articles and posts talking about staying positive and coping during this historic pandemic. These strategies include staying socially connected with family and friends, using mindfulness such as deep breathing and meditation, reading a good book, minimizing the amount of news consumption, helping someone else, play with a pet, and getting outside for some physical movement/exercise. These are all fantastic ways to manage stress more effectively during this quarantine period. But what about creative outlets? I would suggest that everyone consider creative outlets as a source of stress reduction that can continue long after COVID 19 restrictions subside. This is the ideal time to tackle those things you wish you had more time to do or learn in the past. There are videos on-line through You Tube and other sources that can teach you how to play an instrument, paint a picture, take on a home improvement project, cook a new dish, just to name a few. Spending time participating in enjoyable activities can improve mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress and depression. Activities that get you doing something physical are even better yet. Hobbies are a way to take your mind off the stresses of everyday life. These should be activities that are not associated with work, chores, or other responsibilities.
Carina Wolff of Bustle recommends 11 hobbies that can reduce stress besides Yoga (nothing against Yoga).
From my own experiences, would provide a word of caution for a couple of these. Video games can be a great deal of fun, but over exposure or intensely competitive situations can have the opposite effect as far as stress management. Also pet ownership is wonderful, I have always owned 1-4 dogs at any given point of my life. However, they can be a lot of work, and puppies and older dogs require much care.
In addition to searching for new creative outlets, try to remember all the things you are grateful for in your life. This is an important way to remain positive, amidst much negativity. Positive thinking is something you can improve upon with daily practice. Many counseling techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can really help in relatively short periods of time. For more information on CBT and other effective therapies, please give us a call.
We are providing online counseling and stress management for individual, family and marital services. Check out our COVID-19 resources at www.fampsy.org and our Facebook and Twitter pages. Contact our office to set up an appointment at 727-203-3770 (Trinity Office) or 727-725-8820 (Safety Harbor Office).
Les Weiss, LCSW