In these unprecedented times, we are going through a lot of rapid changes. Be it losing an income, unable to meet family/friends, working remote, homeschooling kids, list goes endless. It is hard to grapple with uncertainty and unknown and focus on self-care when things are out of your control. This leads to a spectrum of emotional reactions like anxiety, stress, worry, fear and rightly so.
With a lot of advice available online, it is hard to differentiate fact from fiction, from your priorities to those of others, and finding a delicate balance in life. To top it off, posts from friends and family about being super productive, re-inventing themselves, and readjusting their life goals is daunting. All you want is rest and process what you are going through.
Listed below are some simple and effective ways to help you through these troublesome times. I link further reading material at the bottom, all from credible sources. This will let you take charge of your mental well-being. It will help you develop or improve strategies to manage stress, and walk out even stronger and resilient than before.
Acknowledge your emotions
Just saying out to yourself or to family / friends that you’re worried, stressed, fearful, or any other emotions you are experiencing will help decrease the load on your emotional system. There’s an excellent chance that by the end you’ll know that you are not alone and that there are others around you with the same feeling will help decrease anxiety and drive you to seek help. Then you can embark on finding sources of truth and dismiss all the myths floating around on internet. You could work on developing positive mindset, root positive emotions and start contagion of happiness!
Boosting self-care is a wonderful way to decrease stress. Showing self-compassion as you would show to a friend will go a long way in developing a healthy relationship with yourself. Some basic activities like setting up comfortable routine, eating healthy, getting enough sleep and rest, and decreasing screen time / news consumption will make it easy to stay healthy. Practicing meditation or mindfulness, smiling, practicing gratitude, spending time with kids, staying connected with your social circle, engaging in physical activity like exercise or yoga, engaging in cognitive activities like playing board games or solving a puzzle, doing fun things like dancing or cooking etc are some great ways to take care of yourself and others. You should carry on with strategies and activities that have helped you before.
Bottom line, indulging in activities that gives you joy, decreases stress and helps you stay calm will help with managing and coping from stress, fear and anxiety.
At any point, if you are feeling overwhelming fear, anxiety, depression, or other emotions, consider seeking professional help or reaching out to mental health support group in your area.
We all are going through times. Things are not under our control. Acknowledging our emotions, not allowing them to overwhelm us, pursuing information grounded in facts and being joyful and positive, will bring opportunities for love and support.
I leave you with this moral story today
(taken from http://www.allaboutfrogs.org/stories/butter.html)
A frog was hopping around a farmyard when it probed into a barn. Being careless, and maybe a little too curious, he ended up falling into a pail half-filled with fresh milk. As he swam about attempting to reach the top of the pail, he found that the sides of the pail were too steep to reach.
He tried to stretch his back legs to push off the bottom of the pail but found it too deep.
Determined, this frog did not to give up, but he continued to struggle.
He kicked and squirmed and kicked and squirmed, until at last, all his churning about in the milk had turned the milk into a big hunk of butter.
The butter was now solid enough for him to climb onto and get out of the pail!
Keep Going! Together, we will get through this!
(Disclaimer: I have no affiliations with any of the links suggested below)
- To stay informed
- World Health Organization https://www.who.int/
- Government of Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
- BC Center for Disease Control http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19
- Refer to your local, federal, and provincial websites if not linked here.
- Ways to practice self-care
- Managing stress, anxiety, depression https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health-safety/covid19_stressmanagement_5_accessible.pdf
- Managing stress and anxiety https://www.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/content/coronavirus_HUHS_managing_fears_A2%5B5%5D.pdf
- Some tools to practice self-care
- List of Podcasts https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/calmer-you/202004/feeling-anxious-or-worried-listen-these-9-podcasts
- 10% Happier (Podcast) https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/10-happier-with-dan-harris/id1087147821?mt=2
- Headspace (App) https://www.headspace.com/
- Calm (App) https://www.calm.com/