Self-Care Tools During Times of Stress
During the COVID-19 crisis, stress and anxiety is at an all-time high. With so much uncertainty, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and scared of what the future holds. Between social isolation from friends and family, long hours, and shortages of equipment and other necessities, it’s common to become overwhelmed. It is more important than ever to practice self-care. Unfortunately, you can’t control external factors. But you can control how you take care of yourself. Focusing on your mental health will help you feel better in these uncertain times and enable you to focus on solutions instead of the problems ahead.
There is no one-size-fits-all for self-care. What may work for you may not work for someone else. Still, there are some tools you can leverage to help take care of yourself and your well-being in this time.
Releasing Tension When Dealing with Pandemics
If you’re like most people, stress lives as tension somewhere in your body. For many, it’s in the shoulders and neck region, but it can live anywhere. The first step towards de-stressing is to take stock of where that tension lives. Take a moment to tune into your body and find your aches and pains that relate to the stress you’re feeling. Once you know that, there are a few steps you can take to relive some of it.
One way to start to relieve that tension is deep breathing exercises. Exercises like the 4-7-8 technique are designed to help you relax. Gaining control over your breathing and replenishing oxygen in your body brings a new awareness of your body. From there, you can focus on where you hold the tension in your body. As you’re exhaling, focus on the tension and letting it go. Repeat as many times as you’d like.
Another way to work through tension in your body is to stretch. Stretching can be done in the morning, evening, or any time of day you can fit it in. You can even do it at your desk. Focus on parts of the body where tension pain lives. Stretching as much as feels comfortable can help relieve that pain. Pairing stretching together with your breathing exercise of choice can be incredibly helpful to release tension in your body.
Beneficial Declarations & Problem Solving
Aside from the physical strain stress and anxiety can put on your body, it’s common to feel mental strain as well. Uncertainty weighing on your mind can result in loss of sleep, headaches, and more. Instead of trying to ignore it, another self-care tactic is to tackle them head-on. By addressing the things that upset you, you can work towards solving the issues.
The first step to addressing what is causing anxiety and stress in your life is to declare what they are. By stating how you feel and why you feel that way, you can start to see what you can work on. For example, maybe you feel worried because of the longer than normal hours that you’re working. Maybe you’re anxious because change in your financial situation. Take the time to consider what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way. Write them all down – there is no right or wrong answer.
From there, you can take steps towards problem-solving. Writing down what you’re feeling can do a lot to relieve some stress and anxiety. But many feel better when taking steps towards solving the problem. On paper, write down any idea that you can think of to work towards resolving what’s making you feel the way you do. It doesn’t have to be what you do but having a list of possible action plans can help you problem solve. From there, put any plan you think would work and help into action. If there isn’t any solution for your problem, that’s okay too. Acknowledging the problem and your feelings is the most important part of your self-care.
Taking care of your well-being is important, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-care is a piece of that puzzle. It’s important to wash your hands often, but it’s also important to acknowledge how you feel during it all. Self-Isolation or long work hours can both be draining. By working on your mental health, you can put yourself in a better position to tackle the situation at hand.