MANAGING STRESS IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY
Looks like we’re going to be stuck inside for a little while and let’s be honest…it sucks. The weather is getting nicer, this is the time we usually enjoy spending in the mark or with our friends out and about and instead… we have to stay home. We of course understand that this is for our own good and health but it just feels like it’s never going to end. It is the perfect time to talk about mental health, as it seems like everyone has taken a toll in the past few months.
We’re all dealing with a lot of uncertainty and that can be scary. We like to have control over what’s coming up, what we’re going to do in the next few days and weeks. But we can’t right now, we can’t make plans to have drinks or dinner with friends, we can’t invite people to come over, we can’t meet up in the park.
You might be feeling a lot of stress and we totally understand - we have a few tips for you to hopefully cope a bit better. We know that these don’t apply to everyone, but hopefully, there’s something that will speak to you!
Doing a Social Media Detox
Taking a little time off social media wouldn’t. Getting your screen time report and realizing how long you’ve been spending on your phone, and especially on instagram and other platforms is a bit crazy. And it’s not good for your mental health. It’s a lot of mindless scrolling, wondering what other people are doing and ultimately kind of getting FOMO because there are things you can’t do and places where you can’t be.
If you don’t feel like turning off your phone completely, you can always put your phone on do not disturb or turn off your notifications. That way you decide when you go on your phone, instead of having your phone calling you. Try and do that even if it’s just for one day or weekend and you’ll see the impact it will have on your mindset!
You can also implement some time limits for specific apps - one tip is to make it realistic. If you’ve been spending 2 hours a day on Instagram, try and cut it to 1h30. It’s not much but these little changes will help you switch your habits.
Keep in Touch with Others
It sounds very cliché, but although we’re social distancing, it’s quite important to be social. These times we’re going through have really shown that as introverted as we can be, it’s important to stay in touch with people. Whether it’s reconnecting with people you haven’t seen in a while or keeping in touch with people you don’t see daily anymore, make sure you’re still interacting with others.
This is a time when we can be very thankful for all the technology we have access to. Wherever you are now, you can text or call someone very easily. Or you can videocall them as well, and that will make it seem like you are with them in real life. With all these tools, it's so easy to reach out to people you don't see everyday anymore and it's just going to feel good to be able to interact with someone.
Don't Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself
At the beginning of this, there were many people who were super motivated and wanted to take full advantage of this time to start something new. A new project, learn a new skill, a new language, do something they’ve had in their head for a while but never had time to actually do it. And that’s great, it’s important to have motivation and to find a way to optimize your time but that’s not how everyone is feeling. With so much uncertainty, many people are having a hard time dealing with all of this and sometimes we have days where we just want to stay in bed and let the day pass and watch Netflix.
There's no right or wrong way to make use of your time and you shouldn't feel guilty about not doing much and you shouldn't compare what you're doing to what others are doing. Even though this is something we're all going through, everyone's circumstances are different. That's also one of the reason turning off social media wouldn't hurt, remember people are only posting highlights of their days.
Accept your Emotions
It’s okay to feel sad or to feel a bit down. It’s important you don’t suppress these emotions and that you let yourself have a bad day or a bad week. At this point, we’ve all had it and we’re still probably going to go through it again. If you have anyone you can talk to, a friend or a family member, let them know how you feel. Even if they don’t really respond, it’s just going to feel nice for you to let it out and you’re going to feel a lot lighter. No one ever thought we would have to stay inside for this long at one point in our lives. The one thing to remember is that everyone is going through it, although the experience is not the same for everyone.
Processing your emotions is the best way to get over them. If you feel like you need to cry, do it and release whatever tension you are feeling. You will feel a lot better and you'll be able to get back to your somewhat normal self and carry on with your current activities.
Meditation and Breathing Exercises
It won't take you much time but it might make a huge difference. Before you get on with your day, take a few minutes in the morning to be completely still and calm, only focusing on your breath and on yourself. Distractions can come easily, many of wake up a start scrolling on our phones, checking emails and doing work tasks when you haven't even had the time to think of what day it is.
It's important you take a few minutes to yourself, take a few deep breaths and try to empty your mind. That will help you start with a clean slate for the day, and if you ever feel overwhelmed during the day, take breaks. There's no point in running on an empty engine, it's only going to make work slower and you might not be happy with what you're doing.