Managing Stress (especially due to the current pandemic).
I write in the midst of the problem that currently faces us all over the world.
Of course, you cannot prepare for what you never knew could happen.
Everyday life has it’s own troubles that cause momentary stress or chronic stress. These could be getting stuck in traffic, missed your train to work, arrived late to work, child misbehaves at school, struggling to meet targets at work, a parent falls ill, you have a health scare, your neighbours are being a nuisance, the car develops a fault….etc.
But, in the last 12 months, the global issue we now share, piles on the pressures of life that never stops anyway. So, on top of day-to-day challenges of life, we all have to grapple with stress due to:
-Fear of being infected
-Fear of dying
-Fear of losing loved ones
-Loss of a loved ones/friends/neighbours
-Fear of social isolation
-Fear of uncertainty
-Loss of home and accommodation
-Illness unrelated to covid 19
-Muscle strain from using computer all day
TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO
1. Planned Meals – It is very useful to plan family meals. Maybe have a meal table of sorts. This will serve at least 2 great purposes – Firstly, this takes the stress away from deciding on a day-to-day basis, what you will prepare for you family and secondly – it helps to make sure your family is having nutritious meals. Great nutritious meals are central to your health and boosting your immune system for a time like this. Cooking could be made into fun activities where if prior to the pandemic, you did not cook often, it is an opportunity to do so as a family, especially with children. It could be made exciting.
2. Listening to the news- Listen to the main new for the day. Choose a time in which you will tune in to the news to keep yourself updated. Don’t let negative news be the thing that becomes repetitive, over and over again. It is unhealthy for your mind and increases stress.
3. Exercise – If you are able to walk or jog around your local area, that is fantastic. Gives you the opportunity to be in the open, getting fresh air and some sunshine for at least 30 minutes. Change your route every now and again to make it interesting. This is a great stress reliever.
4. Meditation – Try to do at least 10 minutes of meditation. There are a few ways of engaging in meditation. Using repetitive mantra, spiritual meditation (reading a Holy book and thinking on the content and context), serene visualisation, calming tunes (where you focus on the notes and tunes). Meditation and mindfulness lowers your blood pressure, creates calm, eases anxiety, and symptoms of depression.
5. Keep in touch – Communication with friends and family is very beneficial for you as well as for them. It is more effective to hear people’s voices at the other end than to use social media. It is better still if you can do a video call. There is always an added layer of excitement to see your loved one's face, in addition to hearing their voice - the best you can do while social distancing!
6. Financial worries – The government has many programs in place to support the unemployed, self employed and families struggling at this time. Please reach out for help if needed.
Local authority websites where you live can have a lot of advice.
Government financial support websites
Job centre/benefits agency – for work and benefits.
7. Home schooling- keeping to the same routines through the working week can be quite useful because it helps with staying focused. Your day is more likely to run smoothly and you are more likely to achieve most of the tasks you intended for the day.
8. Illness unrelated to covid 19 – If you already have a diagnosed medical condition for which you are on medication, set reminders for when you need to reorder your prescription medicines, so that you do not run out. If you are homebound, check if neighbours can help with collection from your Pharmacy. There are NHS volunteers who also help with collection and delivery of medicines and shopping if needed. (check online for NHS volunteer responders).
9. Hobbies and Fun – Engage in a fun activity daily. It breaks the monotony of work and caring for family. It may be helpful to start to learn a skill you have always wanted to learn or improve. It really could be a journey that will take you to unexpected fun and creative spaces.
10. Posture and position – To be mindful of posture while sitting at your computer daily is important for avoiding future issues with back, neck, shoulder, and postural issues. This is important both for children who are home schooling and adults who have never had to work for such long hours at the computer every day. Taking 10 minutes to get up, walk around, drink some water before the next lesson is healthy for the eyes as well.
Here is the best sitting position when working at your desk.
Sometimes, the first signs of tension begin in the shoulder and if ignored could progress to headache a feeling of un-wellness. At the first signs;
-Check your emotions, and thoughts and put on the 'brakes' where you can.
-Step away from anything mentally/physically tasking and take a break.
-Do a 5-10 minutes mindfulness meditation, making sure to take deep breadths
-Drink a glass of water to keep hydrated.
-Give yourself a 2-minute gentle tapping around your shoulders and neck. (1 minute for each side). Repeat as often as you feel is necessary. This movement tends to loosen the tight shoulder/neck muscles.
Lastly, continue to stay safe and stay well.