During stressful times of uncertainty, it is easy to fall into panic, stress, and despair. It is easy to feel defeated and give up on self-care practices like gratitude and give into worry instead. I would like to remind you all that fear and stress does not serve you. It is the times of uncertainty that we need gratitude and stress-management the most.
You have to remember that stress weakens the immune system and makes us more susceptible to disease. By giving in to worry and fear we increase our chances of illness. Worry puts so much of our thought power and energy into the thing we’re afraid of, and ultimately manifests it into our lives. During such uncertain times where many of us our losing our jobs, possibly our homes, and all sense of normalcy, it’s easy to panic. But what’s easy doesn’t usually get us what we want. And especially now, we need to focus on what we do want, not what we don’t. I know this is all a lot easier said than done, but I have some advice for everyone in precarious situations:
- Identify your sources of stress and tap. I’m a strong advocate of tapping, as it allows you to identify your anxiety and release it. Remember that fear and stress just wants to be heard. It has a message to tell you. Suppressing fear is never the answer. Tapping allows you to voice your fear and reframe it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I highly suggest Brad Yates Youtube channel here. He even has a video specifically for tapping through Coronavirus stress.
- Detox from negative media sources. While it is so tempting to get constant updates about what is going on, media sources often add a lot more fear and panic around a situation than is necessary. To stay updated instead, look at non-biased information such as numbers, watch your local governments statements instead of listening to the news station summaries, or simply ask a friend what’s going on. Better yet, ask yourself, Do I really need to be updated about everything or is it unnecessarily upsetting? Reduce or eliminate time on Facebook and Twitter. These sources likely aren’t serving you, as they direct your attention towards what you can’t control instead of what you can. Which leads me to my next point…
- Focus on what you can control. You can control your mindset and what you do with your time. Since you can control your time, you should try to make the most of it. Spend more time with family. Work on some creative projects that bring you joy. And…
- Make the most of everything and positively reframe things. There is good in everything. This is simply the universal law of yin and yang. If you are in the position where you have lost your job, maybe this is actually a good thing, as it will force you to change direction to something that is more aligned with you. Maybe you now have more time for creative projects that you didn’t have time for before. Focus on how you can make the most of a seemingly bad situation, and your mindset around stress and uncertainty will shift.
- Use positive affirmations and gratitude. Nothing in life is ever guaranteed, so it’s important to be grateful for everything you have. Try writing gratitude lists for what you have no matter how small. Do you still have a roof over your head? Food? Water? Family? Even if you don’t know what the future will bring, it’s important to focus on the now. What do you have in your life right now that is a blessing? Also try using positive affirmations, such as, “I am healthy and have a strong immune system”, “I am strong during times of uncertainty”, “I am blessed”, “I am divinely loved and protected”, and you will find yourself feeling better and more certain.
- Listen to relaxing music. If you need help shifting your mood, music is a great way to do so, and will help you take your mind off anxiety.
- Meditate and exercise. Try some yoga, followed by a meditation session. Relaxing your body first will help you relax your mind. Exercising is also a great way to release stress, as you release tension in the body and sweat out toxins related to stress.
- Take care of your diet and drink lots of water. Eating whole, healthy foods will boost your immune system, while drinking water will help flush out toxins. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind.
- Change the subject when stressful topics come up. The more we focus on the source of stress, the more we feed into the fear. Instead try to talk about something else to relieve the tension and instill a sense of normalcy. It can be as simple as just pulling up a picture of a cute dog to change the subject.
- BREATHE. If you feel panicky or stressed, just breathe it out. Take slow, deep breaths. I suggest trying box breathing: the method is you breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, release for 4 counts, wait for 4 counts, and repeat until you feel calm.
Managing stress is a practice, like anything else. It will get easier with time and repetition. Even if you don’t see results from these practices right away, I urge you to keep trying them until they work. It’s similar to going to the gym: you won’t see results from a week’s worth of workouts, you only start seeing results from consistent practice over time. I know this is a very hard and stressful time for people worldwide right now, but I believe giving into our fear is not the answer. We should all take this time to relax, do things we love, and focus on where we want to go. I wish everyone love, health, and luck as we move forward, and I have absolute faith things will get better in time.