We are all facing challenges like we’ve never seen before, so it’s more important than ever, that we create strategies to help us cope with the stress and anxiety we might be feeling. What we’re facing daily is beyond our comprehension because most of us only see this stuff in movies. It’s weird, it’s bizarre, but it’s our reality right now whether we like it or not, so we have to learn to adapt and evolve with it.
For me, I’m trying to see this situation as a positive thing, as much as possible. This doesn’t mean I’m not scared, and that my heart isn’t breaking for the incredible amount of suffering it’s causing. But I’ve chosen to see it as a positive experience which is my way of coping with it. But of course, everyone has their own coping strategies.
Being mentally and emotionally fit through building up some coping strategies, will help us use every talent and idea we have, for the purpose of good, instead of for money, greed or power.
Everyone deals with stress differently
Everyone has their own unique way of handling stress and anxiety. I do not doubt that every single person across the globe, is affected in some way or another. It’s the uncertainty that freaks most people out. Will I have enough food? How will I look after my family if I’m not living near them? Will I get sick myself? How will I cope with that? How will my family cope with that? You get where I’m going with this!
Different stress and anxiety – different folks being affected in different ways. It’s because we are unique and that’s what makes us AWESOME! We just need to find out what works for us in our unique situation, and then try it!
Last year, I started making infographics and writing after developing a chronic illness and spending many months unable to work. But because of the situation we are in now, I’ve adjusted this information to suit anyone, in the hope that it might be of benefit to other people, and help them cope.
Making the infographics and writing isn’t just about helping others, it’s helping me at the same time. It’s a great distraction, I love doing it, and it gives me the satisfaction that I’m achieving something. We could probably class it as a form of ‘therapy’.
But anyone can do stuff like this. Just think of an idea, and give it a go! What have you got to lose?
So, I wanted to share a few things that work for me and break it down into several areas that might help others cope better with this rapidly evolving situation. The strategies I’m suggesting are relevant to any situation, and of course, can be adapted to suit your circumstances.
strategies to reduce stress and anxiety
share your concerns and feelings
Some people like to talk, and some don’t. But in times like this, finding a way to connect with others is essential for our well-being. People find comfort in it especially if you can connect through shared challenges. Use text or email if you don’t like to talk over the phone.
I know a lot of people with ADHD like myself, don’t like video calls. It’s certainly out of my comfort zone but I am trying to do it because moving out of my comfort zone will help me be better equipped at facing challenges in the future.
This is the same for people with anxiety. But if you’re reading this, just try and give it a go. If it’s too uncomfortable, go back to writing emails or messages, but keep the contact going. And maybe try again another time.
Relax, breathe, meditate, sleep (or least try to)
Being able to stay calm in challenging situations is its own challenge. And there’s no perfect solution. It’s trial and error. But there are things that can help. Meditation is one of the things that’s helped me stay sane over the years, although my friends and family might beg to differ on that one 😉
By doing meditation, whether it be breathing or spending small amounts of time lying in the sun, it can help us dramatically.
It can quiet the mind, enhance creativity, improve our immune system, and just be a good way of shifting from a stressed-out busy mind, to one that helps us make better decisions. We definitely need this now! Proactive, not reactive!
Focus on the positives
I’ve spent my entire adult life creating strategies for the students I’ve worked with, but also for myself.
Coming up with strategies that are positive, not only helps you, it helps create the world you want.
Slothing around or stressing yourself out, will only affect you and your immune system. I’ve always held the belief that no matter what I’m faced with, I’ll keep trying. I’ll try to find a new way of doing something if the other way isn’t working.
Get some sun
This one is crucial. The sun not only makes us feel good, but it also helps our body to produce Vitamin D which is essential for the immune system.
We need our immune system to be in peak condition. Not only for now, but forever. If you can’t get outside at present, get on a balcony or sit next to an open window. Vitamin D helps us recover more quickly from illness and it’s free.
Switch off the news
You can’t control a lot of things but you can control that remote in your hand. My husband and I never used to watch the news before this happened.
Many years ago, I deleted all news apps from my devices because I was obsessed with it. From what I recall, it was around the same time a certain person (who shall remain anonymous) became President. News can be addictive.
Now, we try to just watch the headlines once a day to be updated. We don’t need a constant reminder of how bad things might be getting out there.
Much of it is out of our control so can act as a form of torture if you’re highly empathetic like myself. Switch it off and accept that you can’t control everything but you can control your behaviour!
Start a garden
There’s evidence that getting out into nature improves mood. I’ve never been great at gardening but I’m giving it a crack.
I’ve planted some herbs and will be moving onto seeds next. My gardening skills are crap, but I’ll only be focusing on keeping those suckers alive. If you can’t garden outside, get a pot and do it inside.
I sure won’t be winning any gardening awards because I’ve already killed one. But I honestly don’t give a shit because I know it’s good for me.
Looking after something gives us a purpose and we get the added bonus of eating what it produces. This obviously doesn’t apply to house plants. Don’t eat those!
Play with your pets
Obviously, you have to have a pet for this strategy, so please skip if you don’t. However, by all means, make one up if that helps. Or look at this picture of a cat and dog if it makes you laugh!
Credit Unknown, but thanks.
Aside from being adorable, pets provide feelings of calm. We know that horses are used for people with diverse learning needs and mental health issues, and dogs are used in many different ways because they’re smart.
We also know that cats…… oh well cats do make us laugh! Even though we are their slaves, they bring plenty of joy and laughter through their bizarre behaviour and provide a deal of entertainment.
Having something to care for, and even talk to, extends to our furry friends as well. These are my two mongrels below!
Move and exercise
Unfortunately, we can’t class drinking wine as a form of exercise even if we wanted to. Well maybe if it’s just shy of 5 pm, or whenever really in this new reality.
But we do know exercise and movement helps our physical and mental health, boosts our immune system, and improves our sleep.
Right now, many people across the world are finding it difficult to exercise because they are confined to their homes. But there are many things we can do around the house.
If you have the internet, do an online class or watch YouTube clips. If you have stairs, run up and down them. Use your body weight for exercise. Get creative!
Bottom line…….JUST TRY!
So, there you have it. What works for me, might not work for you, so just adapt things to suit. There are many more strategies that I do, and at the end of the day, you just have to do what works for you and your situation.
So, shift that mindset from worrying about money or stuff that is out of your control, to creating something that’s going to better the world, and all those who occupy it.