Stress Around The Coronavirus Pandemic Can Make You Clumsier, Experts Say

Right now, there’s likely a steady hum of stress running in the background of your work-from-home routine, or your Zoom happy hours. “These are stressful, if not all-out traumatic, times,” Dr. Alexa Mieses M.D., a family physician, tells Bustle. One unexpected side effect of your coronavirus stress? You might find yourself dropping a lot of plates, bumping into your coffee table, or burning dishes you’ve cooked hundreds of times. Stress, research shows, can actually make us clumsier.

“Stress can have significant cognitive, emotional, behavioral and physiological impact on our functioning,” Dr. Joshua Klapow Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. It can also make motor functioning, the brain’s control of movements and awareness of the body, go haywire.

“When our body is in a stress state, our ability to concentrate, to regulate our breathing, to regulate our blood pressure and heart rate are impacted,” Dr. Klapow says. “Our muscles tend to contract as well.” This is part of the body’s fight-or-flight reaction, a set of responses that we’ve developed over millennia to cope with threats like saber-toothed tigers. It makes our reactions faster when something dangerous happens, but it can also mean we’re over-stimulated and don’t coordinate our muscles properly. “Heightened physiological arousal and muscle tension can hinder our motor skills, making us temporarily clumsier,” Dr. Klapow says.

A woman looks outside from her apartment. Confinement due to coronavirus might be making you clumsier.
martin-dm/E+/Getty Images

The pressure of being in a confined space all the time may also mean we’re feeling clumsier right now. “For people like me in a tiny NYC apartment, you may not have much space; wherever you live, you may feel confined by the walls of your home,” Dr. Lori Nathanson, Ph.D., a yoga teacher and emotional intelligence researcher, tells Bustle. This confinement can alter our sense of balance and coordination, she says.

Studies show that the higher the anxiety level, the bigger the impact on motor skills. Complicated motor skills, like putting a key in a door or operating a coffee machine, are particularly affected by anxiety, but even simple movements like picking up a cup can be impacted. A study published in Journal of Neuroscience in 2011 showed why: a single dose of high emotional stress can affect the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls our coordination and movement. Even one hard conversation or bad day can make you more likely to drop a pan on your foot.

Stress is also distracting, Dr. Klapow says. An anxious brain can’t focus, and often finds it difficult to pay attention to what’s happening around it. If you’re preoccupied with something, you aren’t necessarily aware of what you’re doing with your body — and that results in, say, knocking over a coffee cup, or running into a door.

Trying your best to reduce stress can also lower your risk of knocking over your new plants. Dr. Mieses recommends a regular sleep routine, alongside physical activity, chatting with friends, and blowing off steam with something creative or rewarding like cooking. “As a yoga teacher, doing yoga poses helps me find balance and feel more graceful,” Dr. Nathanson says. “Pairing movement and breath helps me move mindfully and feel less clumsy.” Mindfulness exercises, where you pay attention to your breathing and try to center your focus, might also help you be more aware of your body — and stop bashing it against the door handle every time you go into the living room. (Ouch.)

 

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These Stars Are Having Fun With Viral Challenges in Self-Quarantine

Quarantine and chill? More like quarantine and have a little fun. In the midst of global efforts to stay home and socially distance during the coronavirus pandemic, a number of challenges have gone viral thanks to Megan Thee Stallion, Tim McGraw, Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Lopez and more.

Billboard has rounded up everything you need to know about the biggest and best challenges that stars have participated in so far.


Christina Aguilera Launches #QuarantinaAguilera

The songstress invited her fans to have some fun after noticing that some were calling her “Quarantina,” So on April 16, she tweeted: “I want to see your best #Quarantine fashion/beauty looks-inspired by some of my past looks. Bc we all deserve to feel like queens, even if we aren’t stepping out rn!”

In the accompanying video, she asks fans to “show me your best ‘Quarantina’ and create your homemade versions of these looks …” The video then flashed to some of Xtina’s most memorable outfits, including her body-baring 2002 VMAs red carpet look, the yellow and black getup for MTV’s “TRL Presents: Christina Aguilera Stripped in NYC,” her Rosie the Riveter-inspired costume from the “Candyman” video, and more.

Christina Aguilera

@xtina

I see you guys calling me Quarantina 😂 So I want to see your best #Quarantine fashion/beauty looks-inspired by some of my past looks. Bc we all deserve to feel like queens, even if we aren’t stepping out rn! Post using #QuarantinaAguilera & I’ll repost some of my faves 😆 ILY!

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Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Savage’ Challenge

To entertain herself while staying home, Megan Thee Stallion launched her viral “Savage” dance challenge March 16, and now, celebs from Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber to Normani and Janet Jackson are getting in on the fun.

The rising rapper has taken to sharing videos of famous pals and fans alike doing the choreography to her 2020 hit “Savage,” declaring the Biebers “HotGirl Hailey and Hotboy Justin” for their goofy take on the challenge. She also cheekily wrote, “so you really ain’t invite me over…wow” on the former Fifth Harmony member’s video. Meanwhile, Jackson took things a step further by posting her own version of the song using clips from throughout her illustrious career.

“All In” Challenge

Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin launched his “All In Challenge” on Tuesday (April 14), aiming to to raise money to provide food across the country amid the coronavirus crisis. He challenged his famous friends to take part, asking them to donate experiences and items for auction.

Philly native Meek Mill was quick to accept the challenge, and opted to donating his 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom. Justin Bieber offered to fly to the winner’s home and serenade them with “One Less Lonely Girl.” Robin Thicke, Timbaland, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel and more have also participated.

Meek Mill

@MeekMill

I’ve accepted the #ALLINCHALLENGE from @MichaelGRubin. Go to http://allinchallenge.com/meek-mill  to bid on my Rolls-Royce Phantom that I’m putting up to help feed the hungry and those who need it during this wild time. Also, @JHarden13 @KingJames @FloydMayweather I challenge you to be ALL IN

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Justin Bieber

@justinbieber

I’ve accepted the #ALLINCHALLENGE. Help me feed the hungry during this challenging time. Go to http://allinchallenge.com/justin-bieber  to donate for a chance to have me fly to your town and sing OLLG to you. Thanks

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Tim McGraw’s ‘Deep Cuts’ Challenge

Tim McGraw kicked off his #DeepCutsChallenge with an acoustic cover of 1987 single “Take the Long Way Home” on March 20, and challenged his country pals to perform their favorite deep cut that didn’t get enough love on country radio. Soon enough, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Thomas Rhett, Luke Combs and more had delivered everything from Steve Wariner’s “What I Didn’t Do” to Hank Williams Jr.’s “The Blue Man.”

Country Artists’ ‘Demo Challenge’

Similarly, a number of country singers have been sharing original demos to their songs. Kelsea Ballerini uploaded her “Needy” demo, off her recent self-titled album, and the clip showcases the song’s sparkling harmonies. She went on to tag Jimmy Robbins, Ryan Tedder, Julia Michaels, Avenue Beat and Russell Dickerson. Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, Chris Lane and Jake Owen are among the others who took part in the challenge.

Gem Fam@JMGemFam

‘Needy’ was written by @juliamichaels along side some incredible writers. It is featured on the recently released album ‘Kelsea’ by @KelseaBallerini 🤍

Available now! https://open.spotify.com/track/1pF52VPPTgPeBzOjg3PyjH?si=6gCjN3bcSZKhKs1VOwMWcw 

(Source: @ JuliaMichaels Insta story)

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Justin Bieber Nails the ‘Push-Up Challenge’

It may feel like everyone on your feed is doing the push-up challenge, but the only “See 10, Do 10” you really need to watch is Bieber’s. Donning a pair of white sweatpants and not much else, a bedheaded Biebs showed off his heavily tattooed upper body while knocking out the exercise from the comfort of his home gym.

Kate Schneider@KateASchneider1

Justin Bieber doing push-ups….that’s it

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Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg Do the ‘Kush Up’ Challenge

Inspired by the aforementioned push-up challenge taking over Instagram, Gillie Da Kid invented the #KushUpChallenge, involving doing 10 pulls of weed without letting any smoke out in between. Gillie then challenged Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg and G-Herbo to the task and a viral smoke session was born.

Diplo Does the ‘Toilet Paper’ Challenge

Not sure what to do with all the toilet paper you’ve hoarded? Diplo’s got you covered with the #ToiletPaperChallenge. Started by professional soccer stars, the challenge involves kicking a roll of toilet paper around like a soccer ball. It eventually made its way to the DJ’s Instagram page, and he got a little bit of help from some hilarious CGI TP. Diplo nominated Joe Jonas and DJ Snake, though it appears both stars have yet to keep the toilet paper rolling …

Vietnam’s ‘Ghen Cô Vy’ Challenge

Vietnam’s hand-washing challenge, set to a remix of V-pop singers Erik and Men’s hit “Ghen,” went viral earlier in March thanks to its ultra-catchy melody and coronavirus-specific lyrics. Now, the poppy track has inspired a #GhenCoVyChallenge on TikTok, with users doing handsy choreography to spread the message about the importance of combating the pandemic by washing your hands for 20 seconds.

View this post on Instagram

#ghencovychallenge #handwashingmove #coronahanddance #VuDieuRuaTay 🌏 Because more international friends are coming to this post so I will change this to English for everyone: COVID-2019 disease is spreading, affecting people and social activities. Regular handwashing is considered a simple and effective method to protect the community from diseases (according to the World Health Organization). According to research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 78% of people say they wash their hands often but only 25% actually wash their hands after going to the toilet, 20% wash their hands before cooking. To spread the habit of washing your hands to prevent this disease, I invite you to take part in the #ghencovychallenge challenge with me. Game rules: You perform the dance of the song Ghen Co Vy with 6 hand washing movements as recommended by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health, based on the music song COVID-19 prevention – Jealousy, cooperation between Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, musician Khac Hung, singer Min and singer Erik. Take this challenge or share the following epidemic prevention habits: 1. Wash your hands often with soap or an antiseptic solution. 2. Do not put hands on eyes, nose and mouth. 3. Regularly clean personal hygiene, hygiene of utensils, houses and surroundings. 4. Wear a mask to go to public places, on vehicles or when you are sick. 5. Self-awareness to improve health for themselves, the family and the community. 6. People with symptoms of COVID-19 have high fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc. or close contact with infected person / person suspected of COVID-19 and limit contact with other people and contact local health facilities. After completing the challenge, SHARE + TAG immediately 2 friends want to join this challenge. ✌ 🌐 for news reporters and press who want to use my video, please feel free to do so. 🌐 for people want to dance my choreography, please feel free to do so, it's all yours 🌐 join hands to spread this extremely useful message! 😉 #handwashdance #handwashingdance

A post shared by Quang Đăng (@im.quangdang) on

J. Lo and A-Rod Disagree During Eyes-Closed ‘Couples Challenge’

Sequestered together during their quarantine, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez decided to test their knowledge with a new #CouplesChallenge. Closing their eyes, the longtime loves answered a series of questions about their relationship, from “Who initiated the first kiss?” to “Who’s the funny one?” And while they disagreed on more than one answer, the famous couple sure looked adorable while deciding who’s grumpier in the morning, who’s the messy one and who’s the biggest baby when sick.

Nickelback’s #NickelbackRiffChallenge

The rockers are inviting other musicians to play a Nickelback riff in one take, no editing allowed. So far, Three Days Grace’s Matt Walst, The Word Alive‘s Tyler Smith and others have given it a try.

Nickelback

@Nickelback

We had a friend tell us about the #NickelbackRiffChallenge. Here are the rules… 🎸 Pick a Nickelback riff and play it. One take, no revisions!
🎸 Post the video as a reply to this tweet and tag a friend to challenge them to do the same. Let’s see what you got!

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Nickelback

@Nickelback

#nickelbackriffchallenge check in. Keep them coming! 🤘

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Nickelback

@Nickelback

When Matt Walst (@MattJPWalst @threedaysgrace) steps up to a challenge we drop everything and take notice. Thank you Matt. The world is is a better place with you in it and we appreciate you more than we could ever say. Who’s next? Keep them coming. 🤟🏼#nickelbackriffchallenge

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#TheMissyChallenge

Missy Elliott has been shouting-out talented fan vocalists (and some fellow artists, like Qveen Herby) who are participating in a challenge started by Instagram account @theyhavetherange. Participants must choose from fifteen songs from Elliott’s catalog (including songs she wrote or produced) and record a one-minute video of them singing.

Missy Elliott

@MissyElliott

Come on now sis!!!!! You better show us VOCAL CONTROL ok @iamkatlynnichol saaaaang!🙌🏾🔥🔥 the song is Mya “My Love is Like Whoa”🙌🏾

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Missy Elliott

@MissyElliott

Follow @theyhavetherange on ig to see some great singers saaangin🔥 this gabbysamone singing Aaliyah “I Care For You”

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Missy Elliott

@MissyElliott

Duranbernarr singing my joint “Crazy Feelings” ft Beyonce🔥

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QVEEN HERBY WEBSITE@QveenWeb

.@qveenherby just did #TheMissyChallenge on IG. @MissyElliott also commented on her post. 😯😍

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8 Zoom Hacks To Try During Your Next Work Meeting Or Virtual Happy Hour

Instead of meeting friends downtown on your way home from the office, virtual happy hours and working from your couch are quickly becoming the new, strange norm. And even if you’ve already hopped on the Zoom train, there’s always room to learn more about the conference call app. Whether you’re on the clock or just catching up with … Continue reading “8 Zoom Hacks To Try During Your Next Work Meeting Or Virtual Happy Hour”

Instead of meeting friends downtown on your way home from the office, virtual happy hours and working from your couch are quickly becoming the new, strange norm. And even if you’ve already hopped on the Zoom train, there’s always room to learn more about the conference call app. Whether you’re on the clock or just catching up with your friend group, consider testing out some of Zoom’s not so obvious hacks during your next meeting.

The spike in Zoom app downloads makes sense when you think about the statewide and citywide “shelter in place” orders encouraging people around the country to stay put unless they absolutely need to seek medical treatment or buy essentials like food and medicine. In total, over 15 states including California, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Louisiana, and New York recently initiated statewide “shelter-in-place” rules, according to a map published by Wired. And more states might join as the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Thankfully, whether you’re stuck at home or somewhere else for the time being, video chat apps make it possible to stay connected with the people who matter most. If you just downloaded Zoom, here are some of the most useful hacks to remember next time you join a work meeting or chat with family:

Hack #1: Change Your Virtual Background On Zoom

If your bedroom wall isn’t cutting it as a backdrop for work calls or you just want to make your friends laugh, Zoom gives you the option to change your background to any image you want. Go to Settings on either your desktop or mobile and then click on the Virtual Backgrounds tab. From there, you’ll see all the pre-installed backgrounds Zoom has, like the New York Skyline, Golden Gate Bridge, and even outer space. But if you’re not too fond of the options that are available, you can upload pictures of your own, from pretty landscapes to your favorite memes.

Hack #2: Use Zoom’s Annotation Tool

Bryan Veloso

@avalonstar

When your friends find out that @zoom_us has annotations.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

 

If you’re a big notetaker during meetings, there’s no need to bring out the pen and paper. Zoom lets you make annotations and take notes right on your phone or even your desktop with its whiteboard feature. Just go to Settings, hit Meetings, and double check that the Annotations option is checked. Then, using your finger, a stylus, or your mouse, you can make as many notes as you’d like, either for yourself or for everyone in the meeting. Jot things down on slideshow presentations for work or draw up funny doodles to your friends in the middle of video calls.

Hack #3: Share Your Screen On Zoom

You can share your screen during Zoom meetings to provide a visual aid for other members.

If you’re giving a presentation or want to share a funny Instagram post or Tweet with your friends during a virtual happy hour, Zoom’s screen sharing feature is key. All you have to do is tap the Share Screen option at the bottom of your screen. You’ll be able to choose whether you want to share your entire computer desktop screen or just your screen when you’re on specific applications like Microsoft Word. Plus, you can pause your screen sharing so your coworkers don’t have to see you awkwardly fumble between apps.

Hack #4: Share Multiple Screens On Zoom

Multiple people within a video conference can share their screens at the same time using Zoom.

If there are multiple people trying to give a presentation or get their points across, test out Zoom’s multi screen-share feature. That way, more than one person can share their screen in a meeting — it’s perfect if you’re trying to compare documents or complement each other’s points. Just make sure that the host clicks on the arrow icon to the right of the Share Screen option (on the bottom of the screen) and turns on the “Multiple participants can share simultaneously option.”

Hack #5: Record Zoom Meetings For Later

Zoom allows you to record your meetings so you can go back to them later.
Zoom/YouTube

Zoom users have the ability to record meetings to a Cloud or their computers, so that important points and discussions are always on file. Just tap the Record button at the bottom of your screen and click where you want to save the video. Afterwards, you can access the video and any others you recorded by logging into your account and going to the My Recordings page.

The only catch is that the type of account you pay for dictates how much storage you have within your Cloud. For example, a Zoom Education account (usually for educators) gives you 0.5 gb per user. If you have a free account, you have the option to upload the recordings to your computer as opposed to the Cloud.

And this isn’t just for work meetings. If you’re having a convo with friends, you could always record your hangout and then post a snippet of it to Instagram or Twitter to show everyone how much fun you can still have while social distancing.

Hack #6: Record Transcripts Of Zoom Meetings

Kane Fulton

@KaneFulton

It’s an absolute joy to read through an interview that’s been conducted over @zoom_us and transcribed by @otter_ai with pretty much flawless accuracy. Means I can conduct interviews with just my AirPods in & note down topics to search for in the transcript once it’s processed. 🙌

View image on Twitter
See Kane Fulton’s other Tweets

Being able to record a meeting is super helpful, but sometimes having a readily-available transcript of your meetings is even better. Just go to your Account Settings, click Cloud Recording, and then hit the Recording tab. From there, go to Advanced Cloud Recording Settings, click Audio Transcript, and then Save your settings. Once you have your transcripts, you can even search them using different keywords.

Hack #7: Put Zoom’s Touch-Up Feature To Work

Stacey (Kendall) McCain@staceykendall11
Replying to @zoom_us and 2 others

I was totally joking, but thanks for being so responsive. I will have to give the smoothing filter a try😉.

Zoom

@zoom_us

Haha ok : ) Cool, check for the “touch up my appearance” setting under settings > video. Happy Zooming Stacey!

View image on Twitter

Just rolled out of bed but don’t want anyone to know? Zoom’s Touch Up My Appearance option puts a soft focus filter on your video feed, giving you the appearance of a good night’s sleep (even if that’s not really the case). You’ll look more polished, and you won’t have to worry about wiping off any makeup once your virtual meeting is over.

Hack #8: Try Out Zoom’s Gallery View

Zoom

@zoom_us

Zoom’s Rockin’ Some Serious Green Gallery View Style

View image on Twitter

Whether you’re on a work call or just chatting with friends, sometimes you want to be able to see everyone you’re talking to on the same screen. Well, with Zoom’s Gallery View, you can do just that. The feature lets you display up to 49 participants in one screen. Go to your Settings and then Video to open up your Video Settings options. There, you should be able to enable Gallery View. Then, all you have to do is start or join a meeting, and you’ll be able to see everyone in the video call all at once. You can also just click the little grid icon at the top right of your screen once you’re in a meeting.

 

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Working From Home During The Coronavirus Crisis Is A Recipe For Burnout, Experts Say

Working from home is hard under ordinary circumstances. Add in anxiety around the coronavirus pandemic, the fact that you’ve lost the physical separation between “work” and “life,” plus the emotions around having a job where you can work from home in an economy where so many cannot, and you have a recipe for burnout.

“Change can be a positive experience, but for many, … simply not working in the same manner, in the same location for the same hours can cause additional stress,” clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow Ph.D., tells Bustle. “All of these factors mean our job becomes more challenging, more taxing on our system, more difficult psychologically and logistically, and more stressful.”

“Burnout can occur when any individual is exposed to prolonged and often excessive stress,” Dr. Jasleen Chhatwal M.D., chief medical officer for Sierra Tucson Treatment Center, a mental health rehabilitation facility, tells Bustle. “It’s an internal crisis manifested by a lack of control and efficacy in our external world.”

Burnout is defined by three components according to psychologists: complete exhaustion and inability to cope, cynicism about work, and reduced performance both at home and in the workplace. In prolonged social-distancing scenarios, Dr. Chhatwal says, “Fears are likely to intensify, leading to increased anxiety and lowered enjoyment of work. Lack of control and social isolation increase the risk of burnout exponentially.”

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💖💖💖 (neilmwebb on Twitter)

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Right now, medical professionals, grocery store workers, and other essential personnel are at particularly high risk of burnout, experts say, as they’re at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. But even if you feel grateful to be able to work from home during this time, you can still be vulnerable. Bloomberg reported in March 2020 that remote workers in the U.S., Spain, Australia, and elsewhere are working on average two hours extra per day as a result of social-distancing policies. Without the benefit of set start and finishing times, sending “just one more email” can be too tempting — or worse, can be something your manager now expects.

The loneliness of doing your job from home can exacerbate stress you’re already feeling. “Isolation can be depressing,” Dr. Sanam Hafeez, Psy.D., a neuropsychologist, tells Bustle. “Many people are suffering from sadness, anxiety, anguish, frustration, and boredom during their quarantine or social-distancing efforts. This is compounded by the general anxiety brought on by health risks, career or employment layoffs, and public confusion.”

Dr. Klapow recommends changing expectations about productivity, goals, breaks, and when you start and finish. “Don’t hold yourself to a set of rules that may not work in the home environment and expect that you will be at the same level of productivity,” he says. Be mindful of how your body and brain are feeling. Are you getting headaches after hours of screen time? Do you need to get up and move? Be transparent about your physical needs during this time and try to set an example for the rest of your team; if you need to log off for an hour to supervise a child’s remote learning, be upfront about it.

Dr. Hafeez also suggests using video chats over phone calls for all conversations, work or social, because anything that keeps us connected right now will help mental health. “The social interaction that video chats provide can be crucial in helping our minds cope with the confusing and worrisome times we are living in,” she says. Dr. Chhatwal also suggests talking to your company’s human resources team if you’re noticing signs of burnout; they might be able to direct you to your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which can help you find mental health support.

“We all can benefit from knowing that we have others who understand what we are experiencing,” she says. In times like these, human connections, support, and clear boundaries can help a great deal to sustain us.

 

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How To Check In On Friends & Family’s Mental Health During The Coronavirus Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic causes widespread orders to practice social distancing, millions of people are now spending days confined to their homes. On top of the anxiety around the illness itself, staying inside and isolated from support networks can have a serious impact on mental health. Experts say now’s the time to check in with family and friends who are isolated.

“Social distancing, the idea of deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid the spread of illness, has proven to be effective in other countries and will be a critical component of our response here in the U.S.,” Dr. Scott Kaiser M.D., a family medicine practitioner specializing in geriatric care, tells us.

“The process of self-isolating can be challenging for some and freeing for others,” clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow Ph.D. tells us.

The elderly people in your life are in particular need of check-ins right now, especially those who live alone, experts say. They might not have the capacity to video chat, are more likely to have limited mobility, and are more at risk of complications from the coronavirus — plus, loneliness is a huge issue for elderly people. Feeling lonely can also be a concern for friends who live by themselves.

Here’s what to say when check in on your friends and family to make them feel more connected.

“So What’s Going On With You?”

“It’s important to stay in touch with friends who are self-isolating, but to keep the connection as normal and supportive as possible,” Dr. Klapow says. “Asking them how they are doing repeatedly will remind them that they are self-isolating and over time can cause distress.” Instead, he recommends normal check-ins every few days, coupled with longer video or phone conversations. People who are feeling anxious or cooped up might react better to the reach-out without an implication that anything is seriously wrong.

“Can We Video Chat?”

If your friends or family members aren’t open about how they’re coping, do some video chatting. “This is a fantastic way to check in and assess if they’re doing OK, emotionally, mentally, and physically,” life coach Elizabeth Pearson tells Bustle. “It’s easy for someone who’s struggling to text that they are doing fine, but it’s harder for them to fake a deteriorating mental state on a video call.” Setting up a group chat with other friends or family members can make it into a cheerful event rather than a reminder of these difficult times. You can also use video chats for a whole host of entertaining things, like marathoning Elite together.

“What’s Keeping You Going Right Now?”

Rather than being prescriptive about what your friend or relative must do to keep themselves healthy, Dr. Klapow advises asking questions about what they’re into right now. “Asking them what they are doing, and what their day is like, will give you important information about their well being. Are they getting out of bed? Are they engaged in any level of activity? These are strong functional indicators of good mental health and well-being.”

It’s also a great way to share positive things: you can talk about what’s keeping you cheerful and busy (watching Elementary, baking, trying a new yoga livestream), and listen to their own ideas and techniques. You might be inspired to try something new just because they love it.

“Do You Know How Much I Love Talking To You?”

If your relative or friend resists being checked on, rephrase your inquiries to make them about yourself. “Instead of making them feel like you’re checking in, phrase it as if it’s you who needs them,” Pearson tells Bustle. “It will make them feel valued and supported if they understand that needing connection is a two-way street and you’ll both benefit.” Nannas always love to be told how much their grandkids love them, too.

“Do You Want To Meditate Or Exercise Together?”

This may not be the most practical piece of advice for people chatting to grandparents or the elderly, but if you and a friend want to do something together, it can be a good idea to try exercising or meditating together on Zoom. “Both meditation and physical activity relieve stress and get the endorphins flowing, so if your friend has bailed on prioritizing these, they may be more vulnerable to experiencing depression or other mental health illnesses,” Pearson says.

She suggests committing to a few sessions together, to keep you both accountable and also make sure they’re taking care of themselves. Plus it’s a good way to giggle if you’re trying to do the same ballet pose from a Youtube video and fail completely.

“I’m Available To Chat At These Times — When Are You Around?”

Sometimes being helpful for people who are isolated and struggling can be as simple as just saying you’re around. “Letting them know that you are a text or call away for anything, even just to listen to them, will give them the permission to reach out if things are not going well,” Dr. Klapow says.

Just Spend Time Listening

If your friend or family member wants to chat about all the things they’re missing, or just talk about the crossword, it’s a good time to listen to them. “Asking them if they’d like to talk, and spending time listen to their concerns, will give you a better sense of how they are doing,” Dr. Klapow says. Adapt yourself to their communication style. This is particularly helpful when it comes to elderly relatives and those who are very isolated from others right now. And sit back and listen; you never know what you might learn.

If you or a loved one are experiencing these situations, for additional information please read this: https://www.regain.us/advice/general/betterhelp-is-it-the-best-online-therapy-and-counseling-platform-in-2020-and-why/

 

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Influencers On Changing Their Strategy During The Coronavirus Pandemic

When your entire career is based on telling people to go where you go and buy what you buy, what do you do when your audience can’t go anywhere or buy anything — and they’re all still watching your every move? During the coronavirus pandemic, influencers are trying their best to stay in business while also being responsible sources of information for their followers, whether they signed up for that last part of the job or not.

“First and foremost, this is a very real global human health crisis and so business is always secondary,” model and influencer Emily DiDonato (@emilydidonato) tells Bustle. Though she says her business has been impacted, she made the choice to “put humanity ahead of work” for her 2.1 million followers. She says she feels an increased responsibility to be thoughtful in her use of the platform: “[My followers are] going through a lot, with emotions running high right now.”

Other influencers are also dealing with major shifts in the kind of content they’re making, and learning about the responsibility that comes with having a captive audience.

How Influencers Are Dealing With Income Changes

DiDonato makes most of her money from modeling, but she hasn’t been able to shoot any campaigns. (In fact, this is the longest she’s gone without traveling for work since she was 16, she says.) She’s had to rely entirely on her social media content for income.

Lifestyle blogger Ayana Lage (@ayanagabriellelage) tells Bustle that her number-one source of income is dropping. “I’m usually contacted by four to five brands a month about paid partnerships, and that’s pretty much stopped.” (Editor’s note: Lage is a former Bustle writer.) Several campaigns Lage was working on for the months of March and April have been pushed back or paused. “For some brands, I think it’s an issue of sensitivity and wanting to be careful with messaging. For others, I think it’s a budget issue,” Lage explains. As brands cut down on expenses, influencer marketing becomes “less of a priority,” she adds.

Austen Tosone (@austentosone) says she had a good first quarter of 2020, but is already seeing coronavirus’s negative impact on her next few months of income. (Editor’s note: Tosone has previously freelanced for Bustle.) “I assumed that that momentum of brands reaching out would carry over to Q2. With the impact of COVID-19 though I’ve only been approached for one paid campaign in the last month,” Tosone says, explaining that typically she’d have more offers on the table.

How Influencers Are Dealing With Changes In Their Community

Most influencing is predicated on an aspirational, filtered view of the world, which obviously isn’t possible during this time. Influencers have had to learn how to give their followers what they want right now.

“The entire team regrouped once we all realized the severity of the situation and discussed the value we want to bring to my audience at this time,” says model and lifestyle media entrepreneur Valeria Lipovetsky (@valerialipovetsky). “I wanted to focus on what I felt was the right balance between entertainment, education, and what made sense for our partners,” she says. She’s started a virtual book club on Instagram for her 687k followers and made YouTube videos like “Myth Busting COVID-19 with an Immunologist,” and “Calming Deep Breathing Techniques — a departure from her usual travel vlogs and shopping hauls.

Lage also felt like it was important not to ignore what’s happening in the world. “Not all of my content is focused on social isolation or coronavirus, but I’ve been open on Stories and in posts about how it’s affecting me personally,” she says.

Tosone tells Bustle that she has shifted her tone to be a bit more serious and direct, especially when it comes to relaying information. “If I repost content related to coronavirus I make sure it’s from a reputable source like WHO or the CDC,” she says. The former magazine editor turned beauty influencer has also been sharing quarantine skin care routines and #WFH set-up suggestions with her 11.9k Instagram followers on top of her full-time job at a tech start-up.

Dancer and content creator Donte Colley (@donte.colle) says he sees “challenge as change.” This perspective allowed him to adapt to the idea of his brand growing in different ways during the pandemic. “A big part of my business is traveling and even though I have a bit more down time, I definitely haven’t stopped working behind the scenes.” Instead, Colley is creating quarantine dance diaries for his 834k Instagram followers.

How Influencers Are Supporting Their Community

Whether it’s sharing a meme about being bored in the house (or in the house bored), a cooking tutorial, or a financial giveaway to help fans in need, influencers are working hard to keep their followers engaged.

Colley says he’s doing his best to encourage his followers to embrace a positive attitude, though he recognizes how hard that is. “This time isn’t easy for anyone of us, and it’s something none of us really prepared for,” he says. “I have always aimed to use my platform to connect with others and build that sense of community. We need it now more than ever,” he says.

DiDonato is trying to share the kinds of things that keep her own spirits up right now — you may have seen her “Socially Distanced Glow Up” or “How to Look Good and Feel Confident on a Video Call” uploads recently. “I always want my content to be positive and entertaining for people, but I also need to be honest about the ways in which I am coping with the current situation and the ups and downs that come with it,” she tells Bustle. A respectful balance is crucial: “I am trying to create content that can be helpful and positive while also setting a good example and following current health guidelines.”

Last month, Lage banded together with some of her followers to help members of her community in need. “I just asked people to message me if they were struggling to pay their bills due to COVID-19, and also said that anyone who wanted to help could Venmo me. Then, I donated about $150 of my own money and money gifted by my followers to people who needed it.” Lage says that educating her followers is another way tangible way for her to help. “There’s so much misinformation out there. I feel the responsibility to share the importance of social distancing and staying home on Instagram Stories whenever I have the chance.”

One of the most surprising recent changes on social media is the way in which the gap between celebrity and fan has narrowed. For Lipovetsky, who recognizes that the crisis is “naturally bringing people together,” she is finding also that her follower’s patterns have changed. “They have more time and more of a willingness to connect and engage with me and other members of my community,” she says, adding that she thinks this trend could outlast the pandemic.

 

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What Should I Do With My Stimulus Check? How To Save Money During The Coronavirus Crisis

A month into social distancing measures, most people are trying to understand the full scope of how the coronavirus pandemic will impact their lives. As state and local governments order people to stay home, many of us have shifted to work from home indefinitely, continued positions on the front lines, or lost jobs altogether. As a result, the economy has thrown retirement savings and other investments for a loop.

These changes, like any issue related to the gender pay gap, disproportionately affect women, who make up 75% of health care practitioners, almost 90% of health care support staff and one-third of independent contractors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 700,000 jobs were eliminated during the first wave of coronavirus-related layoffs in March, NPR reported, 60% of which were held by women; a recent report from the National Women’s Law Center found that women, especially Latinx, black, and indigenous women, are overrepresented in low-wage jobs and will be hit hardest by a post-COVID-19 recession. Women who are still employed might need to juggle new responsibilities like caring for children who are now learning remotely or for sick relatives alongside, you know, doing their jobs.

Financially speaking, it’s a tough time for everybody. Bustle spoke with economics and personal finance experts about what you should be doing with your money right now.

Plan How You’ll Use Your Stimulus Check

The stimulus package signed at the end of March is meant to offset some of the losses from the shaky economy. Single individuals who made less than $75,000 in 2018 will get $1,200, plus $500 per child. People making up to $99,000 and married couples who filed jointly might get slightly different amounts.

Yana Rodgers, faculty director for the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, says the package is “a step in the right direction but … insufficient” — not enough people qualify for stimulus checks, the checks won’t come quickly enough, and $1,200 isn’t really enough to sustain a household through this crisis.

Ande Frazier, a certified financial planner and CEO and editor-in-chief of MyWorth, a personal finance site, suggests using this money to cover immediate needs or boost your emergency fund. Lauren Anastasio, a certified financial planner at SoFi, a personal finance company, says that your emergency fund should consist of three to six months’ worth of essential living expenses; if you’re wondering what that number is, calculate everything you spend money on in a month and multiply that by at least three. If you don’t already have a budget, that would be a good project to take on now, too.

If you’re strapped for cash, plan to be “ruthless” with your spending for the next few months, Frazier says. Write down how much money is coming in and out, when your bills are due, and what you can cut. If you’re working from home, your transportation costs will likely be lower or nonexistent; if you take money out of your paycheck pre-tax for subway tickets or parking, ask HR if you can pause that deduction for now. You can also cut back on food expenses by meal prepping, Frazier says.

The package will also expand unemployment benefits; you can receive an additional $600 a week through the end of July and can get benefits for up to 39 weeks rather than the usual 26. If you’ve lost your job or been furloughed because of coronavirus, you can go to your state’s department of labor and see what you’re eligible for.

If you’re totally secure in your emergency fund and want to use the extra money to help others out, Frazier recommends donating it to domestic violence organizations or another cause close to your heart.

Call Your Bill Collectors About Coronavirus Relief

If the pandemic means you can’t cover your heat or electric costs, call your lenders to adjust or defer your repayment plans, Anastasio says. If you specify that you’ve been impacted by coronavirus-related job cuts, they may offer programs that will prevent your accounts from being reported to credit bureaus for late or missing payments.

Under the new stimulus package, federal student loan payments will be suspended until Sept. 30, according to The New York Times, so that’s one bill people won’t have to worry about; Frazier recommends putting the money you’d spend on paying off loans directly into savings if you don’t need it right away.

Frazier has been advising her clients to pay the minimum on their debts and concentrate on stashing as much money as possible in their emergency funds. If you want to continue paying off your debts during this period, try the avalanche method, or paying the minimum across all your debt and use the money left over to pay off anything high interest. If your debt feels overwhelming, try the snowball repayment method, meaning you pay off your smaller debts before moving onto the bigger ones.

Leave Your Retirement Savings Alone… Unless You Really, Really Need It

It might be tempting, but pulling money from your retirement probably isn’t worth it, unless your situation is truly drastic. Instead, Frazier recommends waiting out the market downturn.

“I know that this is very uncomfortable, but it truly is a natural part of the market cycle,” Anastasio says. “And for those younger investors who are experiencing this for the first time and watching their portfolio go down … this is not the first time they’re going to experience this during their career.”

Frazier recommends looking at your savings, the cash value of your life insurance policy, or even a home equity loan instead.

If you absolutely need to withdraw from your retirement savings, you can take out up to $100,000 from your 401(k) or IRA without being hit with a 10% penalty, thanks to the stimulus package, but you’ll still have to pay regular income tax on it, Frazier says.

“Taking money from your retirement funds probably should be a last resort,” she says.

Don’t Panic Invest During The Stock Market Downturn

You might have heard that with the downturn, it’s like stocks are “on sale.” Anastasio has heard of inexperienced investors who are borrowing money or even using their emergency funds to invest in stocks at a lower price, but she says it’s not a great idea to withdraw from an emergency fund for anything other than an emergency.

Most people shouldn’t make any changes to their investment strategy right now, Anastasio says. She says she’d rather see her clients focus on building a cash reserve — that three to six months’ worth of expenses — than trying to make short-term gains on the stock market. Ideally, you want to have those savings and your high-interest debt paid off before doing any kind of investing, she says. That way, you’ll be prepared to take care of yourself if you’re laid off or furloughed or if you get sick.

If your savings are in good shape and you’re itching to get into the market, talk to a financial advisor to make sure you’re making the best use of your money. But remember that no one is sure how long these ups and downs will last, and the stock market will still be there when this is all over.

 

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Smokers and Alcoholics May Face Withdrawal Symptoms Amidst Lockdown 2.0

India has witnessed a sudden upsurge in patients facing withdrawal symptoms due to the abrupt constraint on the availability of liquor and cigarettes. The sudden realization that this essential (for some) is not readily available can trigger severe withdrawal symptoms among addicts. The same goes for those who are dependent on alcohol or even drugs.

Drinkers and smokers can be classified into three categories — social (who consume occasionally), dependent (who consume moderately) and addicts (who cannot survive without nicotine or alcohol even for a day). While the first two categories can tackle this lockdown easily, the third category will suffer from withdrawal symptoms.

People who are heavily dependent on alcohol or smoking — often face a range of cognitive and physical symptoms when they abruptly stop consuming. Alcohol and nicotine are sedative drugs that slow brain function. To compensate, many brain circuits increase the basal level of activity. Without alcohol present, these circuits become hyperactive, resulting in anxiety, hallucinations, seizures, and even death.

In order to contain the further spread and contamination of Covid19 novel coronavirus, liquor and tobacco shops were closed temporarily on March 24, 2020 and continue to be shut during Lockdown 2.0. Non-availability of these items during this time is likely to adversely affect the mental health of people who are binge-alcoholics or smokers.

We spoke to By Dr Paras, Life-leadership Coach and Psychotherapist regarding patients who may suffer from physical and psychological ailments, due to the unforeseen break in their classic pattern of consumption of alcohol or nicotine.

Alcohol and Nicotine trigger the release of serotonin in the brain’s reward system, which makes them so addictive. Addicts are not aware that regular consumption of alcohol or cigarettes changes their chemistry. Serotonin or the ‘feel good’ neurochemical is a mood enhancer. The short-term effect of alcohol may boost serotonin, to increase feelings of happiness and well-being, while the long-term repercussions of heavy alcohol use often include a decrease in serotonin production, leading to an increased chance of depression.

With long-term abuse of alcohol or nicotine, the brain’s reward systems slow down, however, when an addict chooses to abruptly break the habit of regular consumption instead of gradually decreasing consumption, the stimulatory effects on the reward system are no longer present. As a result, activity in the brain’s reward systems drops, which can include symptoms like depression and irritability. This applies to people who abuse drugs as well or are drug addicts.

People struggling with depressive withdrawal symptoms may have the highest manifestation called ‘delirium tremens.’ Severe withdrawal symptoms like shaking, confusion and hallucinations, after one suddenly quits requires proper counselling intervention to stabilize their overall mental wellness.

9 quintessential Symptoms of Withdrawals (Symptoms can range from mild to serious).

The intensity and length of these withdrawal symptoms can vary widely, depending on the nicotine, alcohol or drug addiction and your biological make-up. But the psychological symptoms can last for longer.

Unexplained craving: The craving factor tends to get stronger. The craving for smoking, alcohol or drugs can be so intense that the person is willing to do anything, even something which might be considered to be unethical, immoral or fatal.

Physical dependency: Like nausea, sweating, shaky hands, strong stomach cramps and vomiting.

Develop a high level of intolerance

Throbbing headache: Carving leaves you with throbbing headache

Anxiety, depression

Hallucination, about 12 to 24 hours after that last drink to seizures within the first 2 days after you stop. You can see, feel, or hear things that aren’t there.

Insomnia or Hypnagogic hallucinations. These can occur in the consciousness state between waking and sleeping.

Depression or dysphoria can last for longer

Constant mood swings

9 ways to keep your mental health from descending into chaos

By eliminating worry from the equation, you can better understand your mental health and determine what it is that you need to feel your best during this lockdown. Remember, the presence of any survival mechanism, which has a potential to make you feel “happy.” The brain releases four main ‘feel good’ chemicals – endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine which inexplicably help you to cope up with the symptoms.

Practice Self-Hypnosis

A relaxation technique – Mental imaginary technique – Hypnosis is the answer to reduce peripheral conditions engrossed within you and the best way to learn self-meditation. You can practice daily for 10 to 15 minutes during bedtime and early in the morning as soon as you awake.

It is a tranquility-like state in which you can heighten your focus and concentration. Hypnosis will allow you to bypass your conscious mind and introduce mindfulness with positive thoughts and ideas into your subconsciousness. Proper online counselling to demonstrate the procedure would be helpful.

You can relax on the bed, breath slowly and evenly from the stomach and not from the chest and deep dive into the past, remembering good things which can make you feel relaxed and very happy.

Exhale with every word that the way you want to feel, for instance – ‘energized’ and ‘calm’

By closing both the eyes, recalling a pleasing and a joyful image from the past, allow yourself to vividly experience the same by remembering the sound, smell, color and taste of the moments.

After 10-15 minutes come back with the feeling of goodness you garnered from those memories.

The power of escapism

Opposite to mindfulness, are the miraculous benefits of the imagination and distractions. Escapism offers a way to take the pressure off and temporarily disconnect.

Who doesn’t love getting lost in the fantasy series or spending time on the best part of a movie because these appear as a part and parcel of the methods of escapism? It’s about creating your own fantasy in your imagination and living it. It is the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities. In taking some time to escape our everyday lives, we find ourselves better equipped to deal with situations and handle any obstacles we may be facing.

Escapism can take many forms, whether it’s going away to spend some time in a new place, watching every new film that comes out, or listening to music on the train and pretending you’re in a music video. It’s basically anything that removes you from your current situation. By engaging in some healthy escapism, you can leave any pressing concerns or worries behind. In a lot of cases, emotions are fleeting, and we simply need to ride them out. With distractions to remove you from the toxic headspace, this can happen without dragging you along for the process. It is advisable to take proper online counselling to demonstrate the procedure.

Nicotine Chewing gum

The idea is to keep your mouth busy for 18 hours continuously for a week or so. Nicotine replacement therapy, like gum, lozenges, or the patch or crunchy (healthy) food can come to the rescue. Nicotine chewing gum is believed to reduce cravings to smoke and is used to help people quit smoking. Nicotine chewing gum should be used together with a smoking cessation program, which may include counselling or specific behavioral change techniques.

Nicotine Inhalers

A nicotine inhaler looks similar to a large cigarette with a mouthpiece, but it’s actually a thin plastic tube that contains a nicotine cartridge inside. When you take a puff, the cartridge puts out a pure nicotine vapour that delivers most of the nicotine vapor to the mouth, where it’s absorbed into the bloodstream. Because it looks and acts like a cigarette, it can ease some of the habitual withdrawal symptoms as well. (Only recommend to use for 3 months or as per the smoking cessation program)

Talk to a friend, family member or a professional counselor

It is natural to notice changes in your mood. You may feel impatient, irritable, anxious, nervous, angry, or sad. Talking about your feelings is very beneficial. Ask your family and friends for support and remind them to be patient with you. Make sure there is someone you can talk to during major discomfort or pain escalating due to carving during the process of giving up cigarettes. Take an immediate approach to a professional counselor or talk to a friend to rationalize your mistaken thoughts about the symptoms.

Intellectual activities

Brain games are always the best choice for cognitive stimulation. Brain games could be the best component in helping manage and forget the craving and keep you engrossed over long periods of time. Scrabble. Sudoku. Crossword puzzles are best to go with.

Art therapy

Expressive art therapy is the use of creative arts as a form of therapy and is a fantastic field that has proven to work wonders in many people’s lives. Practicing or creating art, is a phenomenal pathway of healing and life-enhancing. Art therapy involves the use of creative techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, coloring, or sculpting to help people express themselves artistically and examine the psychological and emotional undertones in their art can help a lot to cope with the symptoms of withdrawal.

Sound Healing Therapy

Also known as vibrational medicine for your brain to get cured quickly. Become independent and develop the ability to heal yourself holistically. Sound healing techniques harmonize the listener with the rhythms of nature. Sound healing sends your mind in a constant elemental state of vibration. When we are in resonance with the sound, our mind is in perfect balance. With the right sounds and scientific process of application, you can align yourself with the vibrations that foster health, happiness, success and unity. During a lockdown, grab your headphones, open your youtube and select some of the best crystal bowls sound sessions or tibetan singing bowl sessions.

Chakra Balancing

Chakra balancing is the process of restoring a harmonious flow of energy across the chakra system.The effect of well balanced chakras often translates into a feeling of well-being, relaxation, centeredness, increased vitality and embodiment of oneself. Smoking is loaded with toxins ranging from the obvious nicotine (highly addictive substance) to all the different chemical bound additives such as benzene, formaldehyde (embalming fluid), ammonia (toilet cleaner), acetone (nail polish remover), tar, carbon monoxide, arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, etc. Smoking affects the entire aura of the energy body in particular the throat chakra, the root chakra and especially the heart chakra. Using guided meditation, one can also activate all the chakras. Take a counselling to demonstrate a step-by-step meditation and align your chakras perfectly.

As the body and brain begin to heal, you will experience renewed motivation towards healthy habits in your life.

 

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