“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” — William James.
The disruptive times that are being thrust upon us by the pandemic, has caused a lot of stress. One of the most stressful things surrounding this crisis is, can I remain healthy in the face of this pandemic? Another stressful item is the economy. You may be asking: will the downturn be short-lived, or will it be long term? How will I be impacted financially? The uncertainty can be overwhelming if you allow it to be.
The challenges surrounding the pandemic will not change because you are stressed about them. What is going to make a difference for you, is how you deal with the stress of these challenges.
How effectively you deal with stress depends on your coping skills. Experts categorize coping skills in many ways, but there is one important distinction to keep in mind: Unhealthy coping skills hold you back, while healthy coping skills reduce stress, and make it easier to reach your goals.
With practice, you can transform the way you deal with challenges.
Start by experimenting with these ideas to see what works best for you.
Strategies For Coping With Stress You Can Begin to Use Immediately:
Exercise regularly. Physical activity is one of the quickest and most effective ways to cope with stress. Depending on the state you live in, you may not be able to go to the gym right now. So, workout at home. My wife is using Zoom to workout with her friends. Go for a walk or jog. One tip to consider, if you go for a walk or jog, listen to something positive.
Keep it simple. While it’s beneficial to understand the root causes of your behavior, you may need to take a break sometimes. Lower your expectations if you’re wasting too much energy on an insignificant issue.
Start a journal. Writing about your experiences may be therapeutic. A journal can help you spot your triggers and create plans for dealing with them.
Limit your screen time. Do you feel less happy after you watch unpleasant news stories, or compare yourself to others on social media? Be more selective about your use of technology.
Seek distraction. While avoiding your troubles can backfire, it may be okay to shift your attention, until you’re ready to attempt a solution. Be sure to distract yourself with something harmless, like soft music, rather than alcohol.
Coping With Stress Strategies You Can Develop:
Live mindfully. Meditation and other mindfulness practices will strengthen your coping skills. You’ll find it easier to focus on the present moment and remain calm.
Focus on growth. Difficult situations are easier to accept when you look on the bright side. Setbacks can teach you important lessons about yourself, and what you want out of life. It may also help to reframe events so you can focus on solutions, rather than dwelling on disappointments.
Evaluate risks. Unhealthy coping skills often provide temporary relief, at the expense of your long-term wellbeing. Try slowing down and thinking through the consequences of your choices.
Embrace change. It’s easier to adapt when you believe that change is natural and inevitable. Start with small exercises and work your way up.
Follow routines. At the same time, you can give yourself a greater sense of security by being organized. Establishing daily routines increases your efficiency, so you have more leeway for dealing with unexpected circumstances.
Stay connected. Having family and friends you can count on makes you more resilient. Cultivate mutually supportive relationships, so you can talk about sensitive issues, and receive the help you need.
Consider counseling or coaching. Your coping skills are usually the long-term product of your personal history, and background. However, you can make positive changes at any stage in your life. If you need more assistance, consider working with a professional counselor or coach.
While you may be unable to avoid difficult situations, you can choose how you react to them.
Develop your own individual set of coping skills that will make your life more peaceful and rewarding.