Stress management tips by our expert in cognitive medicine

For SHA Wellness Clinic
Thursday April 16th, 2020
Health & Beauty

PhD Bruno Ribeiro
PhD Bruno Ribeiro

He is in charge of Cognitive Development and Brain Stimulation Unit at SHA Wellness Clinic. is European Doctor in Psychology from the University of Valencia with a degree in Clinical Psychology from the Institute of Health Sciences of Porto (Portugal). He is also Master in Clinical Psychology with several postgraduate courses in the field of drug addiction and neuropsychology. Moreover, Ribeiro is professor in the University of Murcia and a member of the research group of Psychobiology and Behavioral Neurobiology from the same institution.

How can we manage anxiety at times like this?

To avoid increasing anxiety in quarantine, it is essential to give yourself space for reading, for talking and doing things that people usually leave out due to lack of time. Organize a work routine and maintain feeding schedules. Also, incorporate physical activity in the morning or afternoon. Try to communicate with family and friends through technology.

Do you have any advice to improve concentration working from home?

1. Get dressed! Bathing and dressing will not only improve your mental state but will psychologically prepare you to start working

2. Set limits. Start your day at the same time that you would typically arrive at the office or workplace, and end your day at the same time.

3. Talk on the phone. Take time to pick up the phone and have a real conversation

4. Take regular breaks. It’s essential to take regular breaks, get up from your desk, and move around like you would in an office.

5. Get out of the house. If you can’t go out, you could even bring the office vibes to the home. Use sounds to help create a little bit of that atmosphere.

How can we take advantage of this time to optimise our cognitive ability?

It is important to stay active: try to learn something new during this period: some skill, a musical instrument, a language, or a course. Remember to respect the breaks.

How can we remain positive and calm during the situation we are going through?

Laugh! Laughter is contagious, it helps us to release stress in an unconscious way. Try also singing and dancing. We are home and there is no better time to release endorphins singing and dancing.

Sleeping well is fundamental as well. Try to maintain rest and sleep habits.

Relax and meditate and also practice exercise. Take on challenges and try to meet them.

How can we be psychologically stronger after this is over?

It is important to follow the recommendations of the different organizations and authorities to better traverse this period, and request help in the event that the situation becomes uncontrollable. There are remote psychotherapy services that are very helpful.

But not everything is negative: our brains have a great capacity to “forget” and recover from negative events; It is important as soon as possible, if we feel necessary, to consult a mental health specialist.

How can we fall asleep easily during this time?

It is common to have trouble falling asleep due to a high level of anxiety. We have lost some of our “external synchronizers,” such as exposure to light or decreased physical movement, and our bodies have difficulty repeating the 24-hour cycle that alternates between wakefulness and sleep.

It is important to maintain a routine and always do certain things at the same time as setting the alarm clock, making the bed, not staying in pajamas.

Have the most natural light at home. For this we must lift the blinds well, make life in the most luminous part of the house and, get used to going out on the balcony for a while so that the brain realises that it is daytime and we actívate ourselves.

It is very important to allocate the bedroom to a single function, its main one: sleep. That is why we recommend not to work there,

Avoid, before going to bed, the use of screens, since they emit a blue light that sends activation signals to our brain.

We must have dinner at least two hours before going to bed, and that our dinner should be light. «Avoid sugary and ultra-processed foods throughout the day, and much more at night

After dinner, we can spend some time doing mindfulness, meditation or reading; “Activities that relax us”. “We can also listen to relaxing music, talk with our family or even with ourselves”,

We must avoid, beyond midday, stimulants such as coffee, tea or chocolate.

Which books do you recommend to manage stress or anxiety during a lockdown?

Many remote workers recommend the Pomodoro technique, a time management method that breaks your workday into 25-minute blocks. Each period is followed by a five-minute break.


Learn more about how to manage anxiety in this article.


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