How to Cope During Uncertain Times

If you are feeling anxious, depressed or stressed out, you are far from alone.  Between a world pandemic, a recession, civil unrest and looking into an uncertain future, it’s no wonder that our collective mental health is in a fragile state.

And you may be thinking – this is not the time for self care with so many fires raging, but we’re here to remind you that this is the most important time for self-care.  We’ve said it before, but when we are on an airplane, we are instructed if cabin pressure drops and the oxygen masks appear, to put them on ourselves first, before putting them on someone we are flying with or someone who needs help.

If you are not whole and able to function, then you won’t be in a position to help others.  So, in these times, the oxygen protocol applies.  Quite literally in fact.

First things, first.  Breathe

Regulating your breath when you are feeling anxious, is one of the most important things you can do to feel better.  Deep breaths stimulates neurons in your brain that cue your body to relax.  It also is a very mindful practice that can steer your thoughts away from your current worries.

Try the following exercise the next time you feel anxious.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your shoulders relaxed.
  2. Take a deep slow breath in through your nose
  3. Hold for a few seconds
  4. Exhale through your mouth with your lips pursed and your jaw relaxed.
  5. Repeat 3 – 5 times

Keep Up Healthy Routines

Some of the fallouts of anxiety, stress and depression include things like over or under eating, little to no exercise, sleeping too much or too little and the list goes on.  Motivation may be hard to come by, but this is where discipline and prioritizing self-care comes in.   Try a few of these tips to help you cope.

  1. Protect your sleep.  Even if you have trouble sleeping, establish a night routine that is relaxing.  Put the devices away, try taking a warm shower or bath and maybe listen to some soothing music or reading something that is not upsetting.
  2. Move your body.  It doesn’t matter what you do.  Stretch, walk, run, do yoga, Pilates, weights, anything.  Getting your body moving is proven to reduce stress and anxiety, elevate your mood, help you sleep and strengthen your immune system.
  3. Be mindful of what you eat.  Try to steer clear of comfort foods that we tend to turn to in times of stress.  That includes alcohol, fried food, salty food and sweets.  (We know, all the good stuff) – While they may make you feel good in the moment, they are known to deplete you in the long run.  Keep up your hydration, get those fruits and veggies on your plates and stick to lean healthy proteins.

Take Action

One of the things you may be feeling is a sense of helplessness as we live through events that are beyond our control.  But how we respond is very much in our control.  Here are a few tips on how to do that.

  1. Reframe.  Something as simple as reframing your situation can empower you.   Are you stuck in your house or safe in your house?  Are you powerless or are there things you can take action on?
  2. Make a Plan.  You may have limited options during COVID, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make an action plan to deal with your situation.  Even if they are baby steps or things that you do on line or from your home, you likely have more control than you think and can get involved in matters that are important to you in a multitude of ways.
  3. Stay Connected.  This is one of the most important things you can do to keep your mind strong and your spirit whole.  However you connect, do it safely.

And while it is easy to lose sight of this, we are all in this together.  So, next time you feel like isolating, do so for a short while, but them remember, that someone else may be going through what you are going through and you reaching out, just may be that lifeline that someone else needs to be able to cope.

Until the next time!

 

1Comment
  • Marilyn Ritter
    Posted at 11:27h, 10 June Reply

    Lovely post! Thanks!

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