Dealing with high levels of stress
When I first thought about creating this article, I was going to focus on managing stress in the workplace. However, since then the Coronavirus crisis has developed significantly and it’s clear this situation is causing stress to many people – not just in the workplace. Because of this, I decided to focus this article on dealing with high levels of stress.
We are in uncertain times, what is happening around the world right now is unprecedented in our lifetime. The TV news on the spread of Coronavirus is being updated almost on a minute by minute basis. I found myself ‘glued’ to the TV watching the news for hours at a time: the saddening news of more deaths - not just in the UK but around the world; increasing movement restrictions especially across Europe; extreme volatility in the stock market; businesses at risk of closing; people losing their jobs and seemingly no end in sight to this crisis.
I walked away from the TV feeling consumed and overwhelmed with the information coming at me. It was very difficult to process.
But then it occurred to me that amongst all of the bad news there is good news – if you look for it.
There are heart-warming stories of people helping elderly neighbours and shopping for friends and family. There are stories of elderly people recovering from the virus. There are people sharing stories on social media on ‘the fight back’ and working together to help others.
I think looking for the ‘good’ in ‘bad’ is the key to help manage fear and stress as we move through this crisis.
It’s more important now than ever to look after yourself and others. Being mindful of what you focus on will directly impact your wellbeing. Focusing on the ‘negative’ for long periods will lead to feeling negative and unresourceful.
What can we do to reduce stress and fear and become more resourceful?
Well, it doesn’t need to be complex:
- Look for the good in the bad – what act of kindness have you witnessed today? How did witnessing that make you feel?
- Do good – what could you do to help someone else today? Who needs your help?
- Self-care – what could you do right now to look after yourself? For example - take a break from the news, go for a walk or how about reading that book you’ve been putting off?
- This too shall pass – remember the phrase ‘This too shall pass’ – it’s used a lot – but it’s true - we will get through this.
- Connect – even though we are dealing with social distancing – how could you ‘connect’ more with others today? Who could you call, ‘Skype’ or ‘Face-time’ to brighten their day?
Some of these actions may seem basic – but often the most basic things in life are the most important.
Ultimately, you are in control of your mind. You are in control of what you focus on. You get to decide what each moment of your day means to you. But it’s not easy to think like that, especially with what we are experiencing right now. If you do feel stressed or overwhelmed then try one of the ‘self-care’ examples I mentioned earlier, or speak to family or friends. Alternatively, seek help from a professional therapist that can help you to manage stress - many offer online or telephone support. But do connect with someone – don’t worry or stress on your own.
This will pass – it may be a bumpy road, but we’ll get there.
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