Keeping stress at bay is something I talk about often, and I do so because I can't emphasise the importance of this enough!
Stress can impact our lives in so many negative ways. It can not only damage our mental health, but can have a serious affect on our physical health too.
The busy modern day lives that we lead have sources of stress that we are already surely aware of, and already strive to manage. For example, you may find the commute to work stressful, but have strategies in place to deal with it. Or there may be situations at home that are stressing you out that you are working towards resolving.
Being aware of these sources of stress and actively trying to overcome them is a great way to be able to feel in control. This is something we can give our energy to and be prepared for.
One thing that I'm sure none of us were prepared for is the stress of a global pandemic!
If you're struggling to stay on top of your mental health and happiness right now then you're absolutely not alone! The current worldwide health crisis is affecting us all in a number of ways — some shared and some unique.
Not knowing how best to take care of yourself emotionally during this time is not something that you should ever feel alone in! We are all navigating a new and complicated experience, but there are ways that we can alleviate some of the stress of it!
1.Have A Routine
It is likely that your normal routine has been disrupted by the pandemic, and that can understandably leave you feeling a little lost.
Creating a new routine for yourself can go a long way to helping you regain control of your time. Try to make a plan for the days ahead that you can then approach with some flexibility.
Having a rough outline of your day can give you some structure, while also allowing for fluctuating energy levels and mood.
2.Take It Easy
Allowing yourself the time to relax and process what's going in is just so important. Putting pressure on yourself to use this time productively can cause so much unnecessary stress and anxiety.
If your schedule is often quite busy, then you may not be used to this new pace of life at all. Adjusting to a new situation — any new situation — can take time. And this period that we are all experiencing is no exception.
If there are days when you don't feel able to achieve all that you have set out for yourself, then tell yourself that that's okay — and mean it!
Exercise is such a fantastic way to tackle stress, and this is something we can all embrace in some way. You may not be able to play your favourite sport right now, or go to the gym or to yoga, but there are so many things that you can do at home.
Remember, exercise doesn't have to be an intense effort every time. Getting out for a long walk is also a good way to keep active, and to clear your mind of negative feelings. Gentle stretching at home is also a fun choice, and can help to energise the body as well as settle the mind.
4.Assess Your Diet
The food and drink that we put into our bodies can actually contribute to our stress levels!
For example, if you are having several cups of coffee a day or eating more sugary snacks than usual, then your energy levels and mood might be all over the place! Caffeine and sugar can give us that extra kick when we need it, but we will also inevitably come crashing down again. This can leave you feeling tired, irritable, and stressed out!
Aiming to eat a healthy diet — that doesn't include too much caffeine or sugar — can help to keep your mind balanced.
You may find that this is a great time to learn more about healthy eating, and to develop your cooking skills!
5.Keep A Journal
Although you might be eager for life to get back to normal, you may also find that looking back on this time is an interesting thing to do in the future.
Keeping a journal about your experience is not only a great way to document what's going on, but also to better understand your feelings.
Writing about your day to day activities, as well as your feelings about what's going on, can really help you to process everything. If you don't normally keep a journal, then this can be a difficult thing to get started with. Try allocating just ten minutes each evening to writing about your day. You will likely find that once you get started it's hard to stop!
This also doubles up as a peaceful self-care activity that can help to soothe your mind before bedtime.
When difficult situations present in life, you will likely already have your own coping mechanisms. You might meet a friend over coffee to talk it out, or take a long walk in nature with someone else to take your mind off it.
All of the usual ways that you deal with stress might be much more difficult — or even impossible right now — which can leave you feeling alone with this negativity.
It's important to remember that even though your support network may not be physically present, that they do still exist!
Don't be afraid to communicate with these people over the phone or through social media. Talking about your stress can be done in a number of ways, so try not to let the restriction of physical distance force you to keep things inside!
Having additional support during this time as you strive to keep stress at bay is always a good idea!
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