The impact of stress
Each of us has lost something in this last year. Between the pandemic, unemployment, and death of loved ones, most of us are feeling stressed. The human race as a whole is still grieving, endlessly adjusting, and coping in different ways. The stress has impacted our sleep, our peace of mind, our relationships, our digestion, our health (mental, emotional, as well as physical), our motivation, and our productivity. However, depending on where you are in the world today—geographically, I mean—you are probably experiencing stress differently.
Stress from the global impact of the pandemic on far-flung loved ones
If you live in India, not knowing if the coronavirus is going to engulf your family, friends, or entire neighborhood is the primary cause of your stress. The pictures of the crematorium and bodies on pyres have killed our appetite, sleep, and faith in healing. I have a friend in India who confessed, “I am afraid to step out for a walk because I don’t know if I am going to get sick.” If you live outside of India and have family or friends there, the stress stemming from guilt has been depleting. “I feel like I have abandoned my parents,” said a client. From Laos to Thailand, there has been a surge in coronavirus cases.
Stress of America opening up post-pandemic
If you reside in the United States, you are experiencing a different kind of stress. We seem to be getting vaccinated and the cities are opening up for summer. How many of you are battling social anxiety? Are you wondering if you will have to relearn to talk? Will you be safe outside? What about public transport where you will be squished together in tight spaces with strangers? Who is worthy of your time—if the in-person meetings include long commutes? A friend, who is a mom and a senior executive, appreciates working from home because it gives her time with her children at the end of the day. But if the majority of her colleagues return to work, there is the stress of missing out on opportunities. She is definitely not looking forward to small talk replacing intimate dinner conversation with her family.
Stress about post-lockdown appearance
A friend pointed at her dark circles in a video call, “I think I have aged 10 years during the pandemic.” The coronavirus has changed so much about people’s lives, including, for many folks, their bodies. Between the eyebrows greying to a few extra pounds creeping up on the body to wrinkles making their appearance, the pandemic has impacted our body image. How did this happen? Between gyms and yoga studios closing to childcare disappearing to boundaries blurring to stress outlets becoming inaccessible, our bodies have changed over this past year. A client said she felt self-conscious and wasn’t ready to meet people in person because her inner voice judged her constantly about the lockdown weight gain.
Taking care of your mental health during pandemic life
May is mental health awareness month. I believe that human beings are resilient. They bounce back. Talk to a mental health practitioner if your stress feels out of control. Pay attention to what triggers you. Ayurveda teaches us that stress is the leading root cause of all diseases. I have created this simple course, “How to manage pandemic stress with Ayurveda.” The course will help you connect with the importance of slowing down and recharging. You will start to prioritize what nourishes you. You will feel empowered and more focused.
“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”
~ Hermann Hesse