Updated: Sep 3
We are all experiencing extreme circumstances right now. Our collective stressors range from where to find toilet paper to life and death.
We all know that too much stress is not good for us. We all know we cannot possibly avoid feeling stressed right now. So, what do we do with it?
Release Control and Take Control
The general circumstances of the pandemic are outside of our control. We cannot make the pandemic quickly disappear. We are left with accepting the reality of our lack of control of the situation and the practicalities of how to work within the confines of it (literally).
However, we can take control where we have some. We can turn our focus to areas where we can effect change or accomplish something. This could be as practical as completing a household task or as long-term as adopting a new healthy habit like exercise or meditation.
While we can effect some change on certain matters, we need to keep our expectations in check. When there is a disconnect between expectations and the reality of a situation the end result is usually stress. We expect things to go a certain way, and it is disconcerting when they don’t.
You might not be able to do it all and do it well. Working from home, procuring food, taking care of your kids and household, all while running a makeshift school from your kitchen table would have equaled multiple full time jobs 2 months ago. Take it easy on yourself. Just realizing that it is going to be a mess, will help you deal with the fact that it is.
Slow Down Your Thinking When you start to feel your stress level rising, get your thinking brain to calm down. How?
You can calm your mind through meditation, yoga, getting outdoors, art projects, hobbies, puzzles, or exercise. Given the fact that the extreme circumstances we are experiencing are not going to be over very soon, it is the perfect time to adopt a regular practice to help keep your stress level in check.
Gratitude Is The Attitude
Being grateful for what you have and what is going well will go a long way in turning around stressful feelings. Neuroscientists have found that practicing gratitude can actually regulate stress, make you happier and improve your health.
Find Time for Positive Influences and Humor
We all need healthy and positive distractions right now. Whether it is watching funny movies, reading a great book, taking the Yale class on the Science of Well-Being, or laughing with friends and family via teleconference, we all need some positivity to counteract the gravity.
Reach Out For Help
If things are getting too overwhelming, please reach out to your doctor or a mental health professional.
I hope that you and your families are staying safe and well. I am sending my best wishes to those who are ill, those who are caring for them, and those who love them.