COVID continues to impact our daily lives, creating stressors that may in large part be out of our control. There are ways we can curb these stressors and help manage them, including:
Recognizing when situations are creating stress on our bodies and our minds is one of the critical things you can do to manage it. Emotional stress specifically can present itself in many ways including but not limited to anger, fear, grief, frustration, fear, or sadness. Recognize if you are reacting in any of these ways:
Anger, irritability (short-tempered), or restlessness
Feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, or unfocused
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Racing thoughts or constant worry
Problems with your memory or concentration
Making bad decisions
We are all very likely experiencing stress in some way as a result of the global health crisis. Some of us probably already miss the days when stress meant trying to get out of the house on time to get to work. Before we can get stress under control, we need to identify the specific source. Understanding what specifically triggered your current feeling of stress will help you to distance yourself from it or face it head on. Was it a specific news story, a sense of loss of your routine or something else. First, identify it and then let’s work on ways to cope and manage through it.
If you are having trouble identifying the current source of stress, try this exercise: Type or write down words that come to you. Do this for a full minute and see what your brain produces. If you are stuck, try writing out the alphabet and then writing down the first word associated with each letter. Now, take a look at what you have produced. You may start to see a trend in your thoughts and words. This may help you identify the root causes of your emotional stress. Next, we can tackle ways to manage it.
Not a surprise, but it is true that getting some exercise each day helps you feel strong and healthy. Exercise releases endorphins that help your body and mind work the way they should.
Get outside! While social distancing, one of the best things you can do is to get fresh air. Go for a walk around your neighborhood. Fresh air can be beneficial for your mood, food digestion, blood pressure, heart rate, and can even strengthen your immune system.
Create an exercise schedule. Staying home as much as possible can make the day feel long and choppy. Consider setting a routine that includes exercise at regular times of the day.
Be Grateful. Gratitude has an intense power to reframe our thinking and help us realize that there are many good things to appreciate. Recognize the beauty of seasons, eat food you enjoy and that makes you feel healthy and strong, recognize your talents. Gratitude for the things that bring you joy are your power tools right now.
Before we can tackle the art of reframing, we must gain an understanding of what framing is in the first place. Framing is a mental structure that Is built upon beliefs about a circumstance. This means the way that you describe a situation is completely dependent on how you choose to frame it in your mind. These frames that you create affect how you see the world, yourself, others, and how you view your own life. These frames can be either positive or negative and they can also be within or out of your control.
So, what is reframing? Reframing is a tool used to consciously change your desires, beliefs, behaviors and thoughts. Don’t like the picture you see in the picture frame? Change the picture! You aren’t changing the frame, but you are changing what is inside it. Once you grasp this technique, you can look at anything differently. Reframing is important because it will help you to put events and circumstances into a different context that may be more favorable.