By Austin Meadows | Published on

We are living in unprecedented times. A global pandemic, an economic shock, and civil unrest all combine to make for a very stressful situation. Many of us are facing significantly increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression – and it can be hard to cope. But what are people doing to cope with the stress of 2020?

Stress management is a very personalized thing. What works for one person may not work for another. However, there are many things you can try to help manage stress and anxiety symptoms. Some options to consider are listed below.

1.    Exercise

One of the most successful strategies for managing stress and anxiety is to get enough exercise. Exercise releases a flood of endorphins, the body’s “feel-good” chemicals. This can help to significantly improve your mood, making you more able to deal with the stresses of daily life. Many people also report that exercising seems to help them clear their mind.  Exercise can also help improve your sleep, your state of mind, and your general health. All of these factors can improve your ability to cope with stress, so the effect is compounding.

While rigorous exercise such as running or lifting weights appears to have the most benefit, any type of movement will be beneficial. Depending on your fitness level, you may wish to start slow, with long walks.

2.    Mindfulness & Meditation

Developing a practice of mindfulness and meditation can help your body and mind cope with stress more effectively. Meditation usually consists of sitting quietly and observing thoughts, rather than interacting with them. Many beginners find that focusing on the movement of the breath helps them enter a meditative mind-state.

Mediation has been linked to significantly reduced stress levels in a variety of studies. It’s a way of retraining the mind, becoming both less reactive and more able to deal with stressful situations and negative thoughts.  If you’re just getting started with meditation, it may be helpful to download a meditation app on your phone, such as


3.    Speaking with Friends & Family

While these times can feel isolating, it’s important to remember that we are all dealing with elevated levels of stress and anxiety. Recognizing this, and speaking with our loved ones, can help.

Many families have set up weekly video chats via programs like Skype or Zoom. Others have organized digital “happy hours” with friends, to share drinks over a video chat. As social creatures, these interactions are far more important than we often realize.

4.    Using CBD

For some people, using cannabidiol (CBD) products may also help to cope with stress and anxiety. While CBD has many effects on the body, its applications in stress management are among the most well-studied.

In clinical trials, CBD has been shown to be beneficial in those with social anxiety disorder, PTSD, and other forms of anxiety and elevated stress. In animal trials, general anxiety symptoms have also been reduced by using CBD.

CBD may also help support healthy sleep. Sleep is a vital part of our physical and mental wellbeing, and getting inadequate sleep can worsen anxiety symptoms.

Of course, CBD needs a lot more research. It’s not FDA approved for any medical application, and it simply does not work for everyone.

5.    Self-Care

Self-care is a term that refers to deliberate steps we take to take care of our mental and physical well-being. Self-care is all-encompassing, but some of the most important factors are eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising, and setting aside time for our favorite activities.

Having a “self-care” routine is important. Right now, it’s more important than ever before. If you’d like to invest more energy into self-care, this article from Psychology Today offers some helpful tips.


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