Given the circumstances, we all have a reason to feel stressed. Our lives have changed so much in the past few weeks. The changes have been the same for some of us and different for others, nonetheless, you still have a reason to feel stressed.
My first tip is to acknowledge that fact. This isn’t something that you have ever experienced before, nor have many generations before you. This is uncharted territory for the whole world. You’re allowed to feel whatever you are feeling. The next step is being able to express yourself and relieve your stress in the best way possible.Talk to someone about how you feel or write it in a journal. You may want to put parameters around the conversation to ensure this is a positive conversation and that you are able to express yourself fully. Parameters may be that only one person is allowed to speak at a time, negating someone’s feelings is not allowed, or even say that you’re not looking for advice you just need to get it out. You may feel emotional and you need to feel that. Do not hide your emotions from others (if it is a safe environment) to avoid looking vulnerable. As humans, we all have emotions and they bring us together. Ever cry (or fake cry) in front of a toddler? They hug you, right? It’s a natural response.
My next tip is to make a routine. Think back to a couple of months ago, you had a routine that you followed every day. Now is time to make a new one. It is easy to settle into our feelings but sometimes when we do we slack off. Your sleep pattern is off, you don’t want to cook or eat, and you just want to lay in bed. Maybe that’s okay for a day or so, but in order to feel better we have to make a routine. Our brains naturally like order and routine. So set an alarm for everyday and get up and start moving. Set achievements for the day. I am currently working through this myself, so bear with me. I give myself a list of things to do for the day. It helps me stay in the present. Not reminiscing on the past before this and not worrying about the future. Stay in the here and now. I have a list of things to accomplish for work, school, home, and self. Don’t go crazy with the list. A few things on each will keep you busy each day. Check them off your list when they are done. If anything wasn’t completed roll it over to the next day.
Another tip is to enjoy the little things. Before this change, I can say personally, that there were moments that I don’t feel I took time to enjoy. I make sure I do that now. In previous blogs, I mentioned that I like to sing and paint. I downloaded an app that gives me vocal exercises every day and during my room cleaning I found my paints. I plan to try doing my own painting soon. Growing up I also liked cooking and baking. I bought a cake decorating kit that I’ve been using to practice piping with. Those are things I make sure I slow down and enjoy. It brings memories of fond times with people I love. Those memories bring me good feelings and during these times we need those.
Lastly, we live in the day of technology download a meditation app, a journal app, a fitness app whatever you need to help you through this. I promise there’s an app for that or a YouTube video. Look into eBooks and audiobooks. Play family games (Heads up is fun!). There are so many podcasts out there to listen to!
Also remember that you can still contact mental health professionals if you want or need to. Please do not hesistate.
I hope this helps as we continue this journey together (while being apart). Please continue to stay safe!