In the last few months, like most of the world, I have been confronted with mountains of stress stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the non-stop news cycle of 2020, and of course, “normal” life stressors too. While procrasti-baking and Netflix binges have been enjoyable, it’s become clear that my typical coping strategies and stress reduction techniques aren’t cutting it. As I spend more and more time at home, I have been challenging myself to get creative with new ways to help my brain chill out without fully vegging out.
I know I am not alone in experiencing more stress from the pandemic. Fear of getting sick or our loved ones getting sick is real, and there’s the added uncertainty of when life will pick back up again. At the end of June, the CDC surveyed 5,470 individuals on their mental health. Almost 31 percent reported experiencing anxiety or depression symptoms, with 24 percent reporting anxiety and 25 percent reporting depression. These numbers are alarming, considering that in "normal times," mental health reports of anxiety and depression have been 8 percent and 6 percent in the same period of time last year, respectively. Luckily, there are various effective treatments for these conditions, including psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. However, experiencing stress does not alwa