By now, we’ve all been affected. Whether it be a loss of income, a sick loved one, or simply a new normal, everything is shifting. The instability of the stock market and the uncertainty of the future loom over each of us. Where can we go from here? I compiled a list of tips to help us manage these new stressors as we press forward into a new normal.
1. Remember the things that are in your control. The way you follow health recommendations, your outlook on the situation, your social media and news intake, and the level of grace you offer to others are all things that are within your control. However, the way others follow health recommendations, what will happen in the future, or how long this will last are things that are not in your control. Focus on doing your part and releasing the rest.
2. Set realistic expectations for yourself. We cannot fail during this time. There is no failure because we are all figuring it out day by day. We will pick up the pieces and put things back together later on because we cannot fix anything right now. Right now, the expectation we should have for ourselves is simply to show up and do the work. Creative energy lowers when stress levels rise. Do not expect yourself to be pushing out the best content of your career while also homeschooling 3 children. It is ok just to show up and do the work.
3. Center yourself. Do you have a contemplative practice? Perhaps now is the perfect time to pick up yoga, meditation, silence, solitude, or prayer. This has never happened before, so we are not supposed to know what to do. We have, however, taken care of ourselves before, so we do know how to do that. We have to focus on true self care right now as a way to combat the underlying stressors that are attempting to steal all of our attention. When we operate out of a position of centeredness, waves of stress throughout the day will affect us less and less.
4. Grieve. Anxiety is when you are afraid of something that is irrational. Fear is when you are afraid of something that’s rational. Being afraid of a global pandemic is rational. You don’t know who is going to get sick, who is going to die, what businesses or jobs will disappear, or what your life is going to look like after this. So, it is normal to be afraid. When we get anxious, we get existential, then we get sad. We should skip the anxious and the existential steps and just be sad. When you are sad about things, you have to grieve them. We must work on grieving this as it comes because only then we can move on. The worst thing we can do right now is keep our emotions locked inside. Here are a few ways to grieve: make a list of the things you have lost during this time, watch a sad movie and allow yourself to cry, or simply talk to a loved one about the ways this situation is affecting your life.
5. Get outside. Nothing reminds us of hope quite like Springtime, and things are starting to bloom! Whether it is a few barefooted moments in the lawn outside your apartment complex or a family walk around the neighborhood, getting fresh air is crucial in the fight against stress. Spring helps us to remember that new life is coming and hope is still here.
How are you managing your stress during these uncertain times? Is there one thing you can do today to take better care of yourself?