Coronavirus stress affects the body in serious ways. Some stress effects shocked me. We all know about that upset stomach and tight chest- the fluttering heart that just won’t slow down until you calm down. And don’t get me started on those massive headaches. These are all common symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Another sign of tension could be, well, tensing. For example, you could be in the garden, social distancing yourself, and having fun planting a few new flowers. You pull on a nasty weed and bam. Your back is screaming and you can’t stand up straight for the next two days. The world is going into isolation, which sends us all into our own fears. Loneliness is common now, since most of us are too worried to leave the house. We’re all worried about either our own wellbeing or our older relatives. As a mass, we’re feeling that Coronavirus stress. Some, in weird ways.
The Coronavirus stress hits us all differently
With the pandemic panic in the States now, we’ve all been feeling much more anxiety. Whether we’re worried about our own health and wellbeing, our parents’ lives, or our jobs, it’s been difficult keeping that level of worry at bay. So many places of business have shut down due to safety concerns and lack of traffic. Tourist cities are now ghost towns. Children of older parents are worried about whether they might be asymptomatic Coronavirus carriers – what if we pass it on to our loved ones without realizing?
How Coronavirus stress impacts my ears
I recently thought I was developing an ear infection because my ears had sharp, reoccurring pains. I’m deaf in one ear, which makes ear infections threatening. However, after seeing my doctor, I found that the muscles in my ears were constricting – just muscles would in your heart during a heart attack. We had a discussion about stress levels and stress-management in an attempt to soothe the pain in my ears. Now, I’m on my sixth day of jogging and sticking to breathing exercises.
Stress of any kind can deflate your immune system, which is why I was concerned about having an ear infection. Due to the increased exhaustion, lack of sleep, and loss of appetite, the body doesn’t get enough of what it needs most to keep you going. Try to be aware of when you’re stressed and what’s causing it. What makes you feel better?
You jaw can be affected as well
If you have Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), you probably know how stress can trigger jaw pain, tightness, or even locking. Grinding your teeth at night is also a symptom of stress and can lead to discomfort and soreness. The worry of isolation and loneliness can easily send anyone into a teeth-grinding frenzy without realizing it. Have you ever noticed that you were clenching your jaw during an intense situation?
I, too, have TMJ, which means I have to be careful when it comes to tensing up. With all of the Coronavirus stress, I’ve had to make sure that I keep loose and use warm compresses on my jaw when it does begin to hurt. During an exceptionally stressful senior year of high school, my jaw locked almost completely shut for three days. Should you have a similar issue, be sure to be mindful of your positions – are your shoulders tense? Is your jaw tight? Avoid chewy food and use warm compresses to help relieve the pressure.
How to avoid stress when in isolation
As the Coronavirus cases continue to rise, we’re restricting our access to socializing. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find that human contact that we need, which can increase stress levels. The fears of loneliness and being forgotten escalate when we remain tucked away in the safety of our homes. But it’s necessary to stay safe. How do we avoid this stress?
Pick up the phone and call someone. FaceTime and Skype are wonders right now – depending where you live, meeting up with someone may be out of the question. However, video chats are safe. Distract yourself with a conversation. Don’t rely on messaging others – that’s not good enough when you’re living alone and can’t leave. This goes for those of you in recovery. try online meetings and phone calls. If you’re stressed out, call your sponsor or sober sister/brother. They would love to hear from you.
Stress affects us in weird ways
Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re that stressed until we feel that sharp pain or queasy stomach. We don’t accept that that headache that we’ve been walking around with all day is actually due to tension – not because you need new glasses. There is nothing comfortable about stress, yet we walk around trying to avoid looking at it right in the eye. Or, sometimes we just bottle it up to keep from seeming “weak.” So many people today are walking around, trying to minimize their fears of the Coronavirus – but that’s not healthy.
Take some time now to accept your stresses and figure out what steps you can take towards dealing with them. Not every situation will be a quick fix – we may not have control over the COVID-19 situation itself, but we can control how we let it affect us. How can you decrease your stress during tense situations? How can you force yourself to be aware of the effects stress has on you? Here’s a great read on how stress affects the body and solutions.