This article doesn’t need much of an introduction. Our lives have all been disrupted in some way by this pandemic, and there is a heightened level of stress and anxiety for us all, whether catching us off-guard in waves or bowling us over in non-stop tsunamis. Here are a few tactics that the beleaf team have utilised as ways of managing the added anxiety and stresses Lockdown.2 has bought on.
Speak up… mindfully
We often hear that articulating our feelings is a great way to relieve anxiety, and it absolutely is. A problem shared is truly a problem halved. And this can be through talking to a friend, a session with a professional, writing, singing or any other form of self-expression.
However, in doing this, it is important to note how you are speaking and the words you are using. Be mindful of the labels you may accidentally be putting on yourself. Do any of the following phrases sound familiar?
‘I am an anxious person.' Swap this out for ‘I am feeling anxious at the moment.’
‘I am stressed.’ Swap this out for ‘I am currently experiencing stress.’
Thoughts, feelings and emotions are all fluid states and in labelling them so you give yourself more freedom to adapt and they won’t feel so permanent.
Be kind to yourself
How are you feeling?
‘I’m stressed at how anxious I am feeling and not being able to control this anxiety is stressing me out!’
Is this you?
However you are feeling, it is really helpful to be able to acknowledge it and then give yourself permission to feel that way. Say to yourself ‘this is where I am at, right now. And that is fine.’
It is hard, but be mindful not to compare how you are feeling today with how you were feeling yesterday or how ‘usually’ popping to the shops to grab some milk wouldn’t have you in a flap but today it has absolutely floored you.
So much of this pandemic we cannot control but, with practice, we can control how we talk to ourselves and we can learn to acknowledge our feelings without judgement.
Remind yourself daily that you are doing a great job – because you are!
Shake it off
Shake it off – literally! Get up from your desk, sofa, bed and literally shimmy and shake your body! Start small, make your hands limp and floppy and shake them, then do your feet, then arms and legs. As your body loosens up you can get silly with it and bring your arms above your head and shake it all. Releasing all those stuck, stuffed up cells in your body will rinse that stress right off. Rinse and repeat as required.
Not much beats a warm hug from a friend you haven’t seen for a while, and those days are coming up – for sure! Until then, there are also similar calming benefits to be reaped from eye contact, a smile and a kind word whether from or to a friend or a stranger.
Zoom fatigue is real! Why not replace a group zoom call for an old-fashioned phone call to a family member or friend? Enjoy the sound of their familiar voice while not having half of your concentration on the weird painting just behind their head or staring at your own face and trying to subtly tame your hair!
Just the thought of doing a full Marie Kondo on your whole house is likely to bring up more feelings of anxiety than feel like a solution. But how about focusing on a small, manageable area that you spend a lot of time in. Maybe try putting a nice plant on your bedside table or shredding the paper on your desk that you haven’t looked at since 2012? Freshening up your physical space can contribute to allowing more clean space and peace in the mind.
And don't forget to breathe!
You've got this!