We are all currently living in a really strange new world and whilst some might perceive all the new possibilities I suspect for many the uncertainty is causing a whole heap of new stresses and strains. So coping with these new stressors might be an important thing to learn.
So what simple little techniques can we employ to help us cope with these difficult times?
- Probably the most important thing is to realise that this will eventually pass. It isn’t going to last forever and we will return to some kind of normality some time in the not too distant future. The world will keep revolving and we will still all have to start paying tax again once we are earning money……
- Exercise is an often overlooked but very effective form of stress relief. So make sure that on that once a day occasion when you can hopefully get out of your home and ‘get some fresh air’ you also manage to get your heart pumping well and get a little breathless. This certainly reduces all sorts of stress issues.
- Yoga, as well as a form of exercise, is also an extremely good way of calming down and reducing the thoughts battling it out for supremacy in your brain. A combination of stretches and held poses is good for improved muscular strength, balance and relaxation.
- Tai Chi is very similar in nature. A form of movement and poses this serves to reduce the stress and calm the mind too. Both Yoga and Tai Chi can easily be practiced at home in the living room, the bedroom or even out side in the garden. Both also have plenty of options of apps on iPhone or Android which can teach you the movements and poses.
- Meditation or Mindfulness. These may take a little practice to get used to but they do allow you to focus your mind on something else other than your current worries. The practice is helpful in itself but definitely you get better at this the more that you do it. It is about taking time out to sit still and concentrate on your breathing or focus on the minutiae of the daily surroundings. Using this changed focus to take your mind away from your worries.
- Getting plenty of restful sleep is important and this might involve changing your bedtime routine. Take electronic devices out of the bedroom and spend at least an hour before bed reading quietly or listening to relaxing music can all help. Also a warm bath taken just before bed can set you up for a better nights sleep. A good night’s sleep is a very significant aid to reduce stress.
- Music can be very soothing to the mind, but that of course very much depends on the type of music. I doubt if listening to Thrash Metal would be very soothing… but then you never know. Horses for courses and all that.
- EFT or the Emotional Freedom Technique is some times known as ‘that tapping thing’. It is certainly worthy of investigation and has proved helpful for many individuals with anxiety and stress disorders. It works at several levels but also serves as a form of distraction technique. Look it up on Google and give it a try.
- Acupuncture and Hypnosis are both very good in this field but would require access to an appropriate therapist and thus not much use to us in Lockdown but if you are already trained in self hypnosis this can certainly help. You may also find practitioners willing to provide virtual services over Skype and FaceTime.
- Chat to a friend. In this time of social distancing and social isolation it is worth remembering the value of a chat with a friend or loved one. Whether in person or virtually over the phone or facetime spending time with family or friends can be a good way to unburden yourself of your worries. We are naturally very social creatures so especially in this peculiar time we can seek solace in the company of others even if at an appropriate distance.
All of the above can be used in any combination to help you deal with these uncertain times.
It is always worth repeating that this will not last forever and when we do eventually return to some degree of normality we will then be able to look back on these times and hopefully find a few new things we have learned about ourselves and others. About what is important to us and perhaps about what is not important at all.
Stay Home, Stay Safe and well. Protect the NHS and Save Lives.