It seems ladies and gentlemen, that Covid is sticking around for a while and perhaps some of you are in the same boat as me where it is really interrupting your plans and how you want to go about things. This uncertainty of how the future is going to play out can cause us a lot of stress so I thought I might share some tips on reducing that stress. When your plans do not have a way of working out for you and you have to yet again reassess what you’re next steps are while covid does it’s thing, may be starting to feel tedious for you.
We cannot control a great deal of what is going to happen, we can play our parts, listen to our health authorities and do our best to reduce the spread. But this is not a large deal of control over a situation that impacts us on a daily basis. When we do not have a great deal of certainty, it can send out stress signals and our minds and bodies become on edge.
The best thing you can do for yourself is concentrate on the things you can control so your mind feels like it is doing okay given the circumstances. Some things you could do to get on top of your stress levels;
Keep being social, even if it is through technology. Humans are hard-wired for connection, make it a priority to stay in touch with friends and family. Take advantage of your social medias to keep connected, it will help feel a part of your small community but also on a larger scale of a national and global community. Keep notice of how the social media is making you feel as there is a line between using it for connection and it getting too much and worsening your stress levels. Do not hesitate to unfollow certain people or mute different things if you find they are making you feel worse.
Maintain a routine as best as you can, trying to stick to your regular sleep habits, eating times, sticking to your daily routine helps you feel like things are in a way still certain because you know what each day is going to involve.
Be kind to yourself, you are doing the best you know how to given the circumstances, being harsh on yourself that you should be doing better is only going to create more stress and make you feel worse. Take care of yourself, get onto the self care bandwagon and do things that help you feel better within you. Nobody knows how to respond in these situations, it is all very unknown for us, so what you are doing could be exactly right for you right now.
Take time out for activities you enjoy, gratitude and joy counter the impacts of stress. When you engage with activities you enjoy you are taking your mind off things and giving yourself time to relax and breathe. You ever sit and watch kids just playing and think how easily they slip into a state of joy? Kids are regularly having the time to play, adults need this too. We do not give ourselves enough space to just kick back and engage in something for simple enjoyment of it. Try and bring more play into your life.
Get out In nature, nature is naturally calming and relaxing. Lay on some grass, smell some flowers, go for a walk around the neighbourhood, go down by the river. It will put you in a better mood and reduce your stress levels while you are there.
Find ways to exercise, this regulates your moods, helps your body relax, helps you sleep, releases feel good hormones. You can do it at home, you can do it outside, you don’t even need equipment. Find some YouTube videos to follow if you need to. Just do some kind of exercise to help you relieve the stress you are carrying in your body.
Take up a relaxation practise, taking deep breaths, doing some mediation, doing some yoga. These all help you relax and keep you in charge of how much stress you are feeling in your body. Purposeful relaxation has great benefits, just taking the time to focus on your breathing for a couple minutes will make a difference. If you are unsure on what to do start with this one, breath in while counting to 4, hold counting to 4, breath out counting to 4, repeat. Count the numbers higher if you have the breath capacity. This is great one to use if you feel the tension building within you because it grounds you and brings you back to the present moment
We do not often have control over how things are going to turn out. Living through a pandemic isn’t always going to be easy sailing and at times it can really get you down and be stressful. The best you can do is look after yourself and keep connected with people. Bring everything back to a simple living lifestyle for a while. We do not know how long all of this is going to last or how much it is going to change things for our future, so now is the time to be acting on taking care of yourself and getting yourself into a more calm headspace to help you be better equipped for the uncertainty.
What is one thing you can do this week to help yourself feel more calm with everything that is going on around you? Who can you connect with this week? How can you bump up the self care for yourself and find more compassion for how well you are doing given your circumstances?