Between Covid-19, political turmoil, natural disasters, and tenuous global events, it may seem as if the whole world is on the verge of a meltdown. It can be difficult to maintain your emotional health during times like this, particularly if your life is directly impacted by the chaos. If you find yourself experiencing more anxiety and stress these days, you are not alone.
One survey, conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, indicates that 78% of Americans report significant stress related to the pandemic, not to mention the pressure of additional world events and the stress that comes from uncertainty.
When it comes to managing stress, there are many interventions you can use to cope and get through difficult moments. It is often best to have several stress management techniques in your toolbox and use them regularly.
- Take inventory of what you can control: During uncertain, tenuous times, our minds may go into overdrive, obsessing about any number of issues. Sometimes the simple act of sorting out what you can and cannot control is a helpful task.
- Set aside time to do nothing: Often our schedules can become so packed full of obligations and responsibilities, we forget the importance of letting ourselves just ‘be.’ Make space in your life for stillness, quiet and solitude.
- Get in touch with your mind and body: Activities that soothe the mind and body, such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises can have a surprising effect on stress levels. Even if you can only set aside ten minutes each day for some mind-body work, it can pay off significantly in your daily life.
- Enjoy laughter every day: Tune into some standup comedy, watch a funny movie or read some material that cracks you up. Laughter is a proven stress reliever and a great distraction from difficult world events.
- Take a break from the news: Staying informed is practical, but sometimes it can be overwhelming, particularly when there is so much turmoil happening. It may help to cut back on your news consumption or limit your viewing to a few times per week to reduce your exposure to secondary trauma and stress.
- Use affirmations: The way we talk to ourselves can make a big difference in our emotional resilience. When we use daily reminders that we are safe and that difficult times are only temporary, we act as our own inner parent. Offering ourselves reassurance can soothe our stress and help us cope with world events as well as our own personal struggles.
Stress is a normal part of our lives, but when there is so much global stress on top of our individual challenges, it can feel overwhelming. Remember to slow down and pay attention to self-care. Take a nap if you need it. Say no. Ask for help. Simplify your daily life as much as possible to preserve your energy and set limitations on parts of your life that cause extra stress.