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Stress Awareness Month: Strategies for Managing Stress during the COVID-19 Crisis

Topics: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Every April since 1992, Stress Awareness Month has taken place as a means of increasing public awareness about both the causes of and treatments for the growing stress epidemic in the country.

The 2019 Stress In America survey, conducted by the American Psychological Foundation, discovered that Americans experience stress for a variety of reasons, with the most significant sources being healthcare, the current political climate and worry over mass shootings. The survey also reported that the average person feels at least a moderate level of stress, and the younger the age group, the more stress they feel.

The American Institute of Stress reports that 83% of U.S. workers suffer from job-related stress. Workplace stress leads to one million employees missing work every day, and it results in $190 billion in healthcare costs annually. Most employees report their main stressors at work include having too heavy of a workload, juggling a work/life balance or worrying about job security.

Adding to the normal daily stressors, the recent coronavirus pandemic has turned the lives of millions of Americans upside down. Many people feel unsettled, anxious and even fearful during these uncertain times. Information about the virus changes rapidly and can be confusing and overwhelming. Additionally, so many individuals are dealing with a new way of life, such as working from home, helping kids with schoolwork, adhering to social distancing rules, as well as constantly worrying about the health of their friends and loved ones.


Common Signs of Stress and its Impact on Health and Wellbeing

stressed out worker during covid-19 crisis

No matter the situation, whether it’s due to the workplace, COVID-19 or other sources, stress can have a negative effect on our lives. High levels of stress are linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and even a weakened immune system. Chronic stress can cause musculoskeletal disorders, as muscle tension is a common reaction to stress. Stress can also negatively affect the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems.

Not all stress is bad. Feeling a little stressed can help one stay focused and prevent mistakes – this is especially essential in the workplace, where an error can cause an accident that leads to a workers’ compensation claim. However, it’s important to be able to recognize stress to take action to reduce it.

Everyone experiences and deals with stress differently, but some of the most common signs of stress include:
  • Insomnia or other changes in sleeping patterns
  • Becoming depressed, experiencing mood swings or increased irritability
  • Frequent tension headaches or heart palpitations
  • Socially withdrawing from friends and loved ones or from activities you once enjoyed
  • Becoming more forgetful
  • Exhibiting poor judgment or having trouble concentrating
  • Changes in eating habits such as having no appetite or overeating, weight loss or gain, or frequent indigestion


Stress Management Techniques for the Coronavirus Pandemic and Beyond

During an infectious disease outbreak like the coronavirus pandemic, senses tend to become heightened and anxiety levels spike. Watching entire cities and states shut down, being socially isolated and the general fear of the unknown can take a toll on mental, emotional and physical health.



All stress, no matter what it’s related to – the COVID-19 crisis, the workplace, family life, etc. – it’s important to learn stress management techniques to ensure you’re enjoying the highest quality of life. A few basic stress management tips include:

Establish a healthy routine

Many people find themselves emotionally eating during trying times, and that usually means not making the healthiest food choices. Plan a nutritious menu every week and prepare healthy snacks to have on hand when cravings hit. Make sure to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, whether that means taking a walk, doing an in-home workout or simply playing in the yard with the kids.

Make sleep a priority

Stress levels increase when you’re not sleeping well. Take time to wind down every evening by creating a nighttime routine. This can mean drinking a cup of tea, reading a book or taking a hot bath. Try to unplug for a while, giving your mind time to relax from the day’s events and prepare for the next day ahead.

Connect with others

The social distancing rules put in place during the coronavirus pandemic make it challenging to see coworkers, friends and loved ones we’d typically see on a daily basis. However, there are still plenty of ways to catch up with others. Schedule video conference calls with coworkers so you can “see” each other while discussing projects, and keep in touch regularly with friends and loved ones via phone, text, FaceTime or video chats.

Try something new

There’s no time like the present to pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill. Staying focused on a challenge, like cooking a meal you’ve never made before, trying your hand at painting or practicing a foreign language can keep your mind off the stressors for a while.

Take a few moments to breathe

During stressful times, it’s vital to take a break and simply just breathe. Allow yourself time to disconnect from news sources or your workload every once in a while. Stress relief techniques like meditating, deep breathing exercises or yoga can be highly beneficial in allowing you to let go of some of the anxiety and tension in your life.

AmTrust is Here for Our Small Business Insured

AmTrust offers our support to our small business policyholders as well as our appointed agents during these uncertain times. We’ve created a library of resources regarding the coronavirus to help you stay informed, safe and healthy. For more information about our small business insurance solutions, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal, tax or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is accurate, appropriate or suitable for any specific business, tax or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business, tax and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.
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