Managing Stress in Stressful Times

30 November 2020

The past several months have brought new and unexpected challenges. Many of us have experienced job loss or had to start working from home. Other difficult adjustments might include attending school online or seeing loved ones less frequently. These challenges are often accompanied by sickness, fear, and sadness.

All of these things can contribute to higher levels of stress and anxiety. However, there are ways to manage stress and take care of yourself so that you can continue to face challenges with determination and hope.

The first step to managing stress is learning to identify different levels of stress and understanding what too much stress is (when stress starts to be harmful). Stress is your brain and body’s normal, helpful response to demands. It motivates you to work hard to reach goals and can protect you from danger. Too much stress, on the other hand, makes you feel excessively worried or nervous, and it continues to affect you even after a stressful situation has ended.

You can gauge your stress level using the chart below. If you feel like you’re in the red, consider asking for help from a health care professional.

When stress feels unmanageable, it’s important to seek help. For less-intense forms of stress, look for tactics that work for you:

  1. Talk with God. Pray and ask for help. God understands what you are experiencing, and He can offer comfort and support.
  2. Slow down. Take time to ponder, express gratitude, be aware of your surroundings, and spend time without technology.
  3. Take breaks. Spend a few minutes doing something that you enjoy or that helps your body relax, like taking a walk, reading, or stretching.
  4. Connect. Find a way to help someone else or connect with a family member or friend.

No matter what we face this year, we can know that God loves us and watches over us. He can and will help us manage stress and move forward with hope for the future.

As Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: “There are still a lot of unknowns about this virus. But if there is one thing I do know, it is that this virus did not catch Heavenly Father by surprise. … Even though this pandemic is not what we wanted or expected, God has prepared His children and His Church for this time” (“God Will Do Something Unimaginable,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2020, 52).