The excitement we all felt on New Year’s Day when we welcomed in the new decade does seem quite far away, given the unprecedented times we’ve all experienced on a global scale. The Covid-19 pandemic, which is a very much ongoing experience, will undoubtedly live long in the memory for the majority of us.
Now that we all are trying to adapt to the “new norm,” to add, more recently, we have seen protests spilling over into other countries around the world due to tragic circumstances. There’s no doubt that these two significant events, especially a full lockdown for millions of us, have led to much soul-searching and putting things into perspective. These events have affected us all and thousands of families around the world have lost loved ones.
Being an eternal optimist, I believe we have seen the good in humanity. We are all full of admiration of those on the front line who put themselves in harm’s way to treat those who caught the virus. Many have volunteered to help the elderly and those more at risk. The list goes on.
That said, the lockdown has been a real mental test for most of us. It has been an unknown and scary experience that, for some, can last long term, which can make us feel lost, depressed, stressed, and a lack of confidence to do this you used to do., and for some even PTSD. Being a life coach, one of my main areas of focus is on stress relief. Stress is a powerful force, but if we learn how to deal with it, it can be beneficial to us. Here are a few tips that you can try at home to deal with any stress you might be experiencing due to the surreal circumstances we are facing.
- Talk to someone, anyone – when we talk things out, we bring them to the surface, which helps us see things from a different angle. Not only hearing another perspective may help us understand what we are feeling, and having someone understand us and empathise, reminds us that we are not alone and that there are others out there feeling what you are feeling, maybe not the same feeling, as we are all different, but close enough to be able to support each other.
- Music Therapy – studies over the years have shown the effectiveness of music and how it can lower our stress levels by inducing a relaxing response. Listen to music before going to sleep, lying down, closing your eyes and drifting away while listening to calming music.
- Do something you love, a hobby. It could be reading a book, doing a jigsaw puzzle, or even baking; the list is endless. The benefits of having a hobby brings s sense of freedom and fun in our lives, as sometimes we forget to have fun. It is also an excellent outlet for feeling stressed from everyday life, and can help with chronic stress.
- When was the last time you stopped and smelled the roses? Again taking time for yourself and taking a pleasant stroll outside and admiring your surroundings. Maybe walk with a friend, while talking and laughing. Laughing and talking boost the production of stress-busting endorphins, which can also increase confidence.
- You are doing the best you can – if you find talking difficult, why not write it down? Write down things that might be triggers that cause you stress. It has the same effect as talking and you can notice specific patterns and try to find ways to break them.
I hope the above will be of help to you, and as I mentioned, there are many ways to help relieve stress. So, take your time to find what suits you. In these surreal times, I truly believe and hope that humanity as a whole will come out of this pandemic positively. We all hope for real change, too, with the ongoing protests we have seen – equality for all no matter who you are. As Martin Luther King said, ‘the time is always right to do what is right.’
We will perhaps have learned that some things aren’t as important as they once seemed. Our hectic world has sometimes made us forget that our wellbeing – both physical and mental – cannot be underestimated. For all the advances we’ve made, nature has reminded us that we are forever at its mercy, but we will learn from it. I hope we will all feel the excitement we felt last New Year’s Day next year but also that we will have learned a big lesson from 2020.
Written by Stephanie Hadjipateras. Here’s what you’ve missed?