We have all been affected by the current COVID-19 situation. It can be easy to get overwhelmed. Our fear, stress and anxiety are constantly triggered from what we see every day on the news and social media. The constant presence of these “stressors” can have a negative effect on our physical and emotional well-being.
Our cognitive function becomes impaired when stressed, resulting in us becoming more reactive and impulsive (e.g. Toilet roll epidemic). By practicing self-awareness, we can start to control these responses rather than be run by them. This will limit the physiological impact of these “stressors” and “triggers” on our health.
Here are ten strategies you can implement into your daily routine:
1. Stay calm, be present.
Practicing mindfulness is a beneficial tool to help manage stressful challenging situation. It allows us to become less reactive, navigate our thoughts and emotions skilfully.
2. Just breathe.
Explore meditative breathing exercises and applications such as Headspace and Smiling Mind. Both are invaluable tools for those new to or accustomed to mindfulness.
3. Develop a practice.
Mindfulness is a skill that will develop with practice. You don’t have to sit for 20 minutes. Start with 2-3minutes. Listen to your body. This time may vary day to day and that’s OK.
4. Consistency is key.
We are creatures of habit. Creating consistency in our schedules and environment can help promote healthy, happy living.
5. No more PJs.
Making the effort to get out of your pyjamas will encourage you to become more productive through your day. Try it! I promise you that this will make a difference.
6. Don’t get sucked in.
When feeling overwhelmed, try to remove yourself from the “stressor” or “trigger”. This will give you the opportunity to calm down and revaluate a situation.
7. Be social at a distance.
Not in the physical sense, but you can call your family and friends. Check-in, have a laugh, have a cry. Continue to talk and connect with your support group.
8. Keep moving.
Our fitness routines may have been interrupted, but we still need to keep active. If you are struggling with motivation, there are plenty of fitness apps offering free workouts. Use this time as an opportunity to develop aspects of our body that may have been neglected – instabilities and limitations.
9. Enjoy nature.
Take a moment to step outside and absorb that sunshine. Feel the sun against your skin. Embrace the different scents in the air. Appreciate the different colours you see. Your body and mind will thank you.
Switch off the phone. No social media. This is a non-negotiable.
Take home message.
Everything will be ok. Be kind to yourself and the people around you.
Be patient. Trust the process.
Written by Dr Larson Paulding