By: Annie Gilbert

Over the past two years with Coronavirus ever evolving, we are all living our lives differently than we ever imagined. Stress levels among people of ALL ages has escalated. As a primary care provider, I have also struggled with balance. I must remember that I am also a daughter, mother, grandmother, wife, and neighbor which has presented me with my own unique challenges to work through. Our children have had to be away from friends and navigate online learning, adults began to work from home, older adults were isolated from friends and family. And now, with the changes of mask mandates, there are questions about how to regain some sense of normalcy while protecting ourselves and our families.

Healthy Living:

Incorporating a variety of healthy foods into your day is always important, but it’s easy to fall back on less healthy foods during times of stress. Keep things simple by including fruits and vegetables at each meal, drinking plenty of water, and snacking mindfully by portioning out individual servings. Exercise is a great solution to get out of your head! Nearly every form of physical activity can help reduce stress by releasing feel-good hormones in the brain. Biking, stretching, and walking are easy to do, reduce stress and clear your mind.

Social Connection:

We have all felt social isolation over the past two years during the pandemic. Talking about your feelings can help you reconnect, feel less isolated and more engaged. Also remember to check up on friends and relatives often. Every opportunity to reach out is an opportunity to help lift someone up – including yourself. Simple gestures such as checking on a neighbor, offering to pick up groceries, send a hand written note to a friend, can make a big difference. These small acts of kindness add up, and the benefits go both ways. Acts of kindness increase our feelings of happiness – helping others just makes you feel good!


Sleep is essential by helping replenish energy and building a healthy immune system. Routine is essential to good sleep, so establish a routine and stick to it. Make your bedroom a place of calm tranquility. Reduce screen time two hours prior to bed time, lower the room temperature, use room darkening shades, implement a sound machine and light bedding. Meditation, reading, soft music and imagery are all helpful in establishing calm and relaxation prior to lights out.

News Break:

Staying updated on current events is important but can also be overwhelming and add to stress and anxiety. Designate specific times to “unplug” from news and media, and focus on news from trusted sources for health updates. Try the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization instead of social media and less reliable sources.

When times are uncertain, stress, fear, and anxiety are normal. Taking time to practice self-care can help you find some relief. Reach out to your provider if you need help with mental health and emotional wellness. What we need to remember most is to offer support, kindness, and patience with one another.