Let’s talk about stress
Dec 13, 2021
I have recently read a lot about “Pandemic Flux Syndrome” and “why this stage of the pandemic makes us so anxious”. It’s normal to feel joy as one opens up and starts attending social occasions yet at the same time still feel exceptionally high levels of anxiety (especially as we now find ourselves in a new wave) — some events hold more stress than others, new decisions and boundaries need to be made, and adapting again (although some of us refer to this time as heading back to normal) to a new way of life. This anxiety can also be driven by a range of conflicting opinions within ones’ relationships regarding vaccinations - be it with your partner, families or even friends.
Taking all of this into account, it’s no surprise that we are all still feeling the big S: STRESS!
While I wish I could offer you a magical solution, I unfortunately can’t. What I can offer is what helps me deal with stress and I hope that these things help you. My two biggest pieces of advice are to be gentle on yourself — you deserve it, and don’t judge your feelings as good or bad — you feel what you feel and that is okay.
Here are my five tips when facing stress:
- Identify and acknowledge unhealthy coping mechanisms - these can be over or under eating, over or under sleeping, too much mindless screen time, or taking out stress on those close to you. Social withdrawal is another unhealthy coping mechanism - this one is especially tricky as you can easily “justify” it as “pandemic protocol.” But the reality is that we are social beings and getting out and being social (even if it is hard in the moment) can really relieve your everyday stress.
- Get active! Everyone says it and I am saying it too. Getting moving, and getting your heart rate going is such a healthy lifestyle choice and one that immediately relieves the feeling of stress. I am not saying you have to do a HITT workout everyday, although if that is your thing then great. Simple ways of moving your body can do the world of good: dance parties with your kids in the kitchen, a walk around your neighbourhood, taking the stairs every time or signing up for a class that keeps you motivated and committed. Some moms at my girls’ school run together every 2nd day - some are faster than others, some walk, some are ready for a marathon, but they show up and they do it together! I can’t wait to have the sign-off to exercise again and I will be there, babe in tow, ready to move.
- Invest in your relationships. Don’t shut people out. For so long we had to manage on our own and now we have the opportunity to see friends again - invest in them. You don’t have to have a huge circle of friends, because a few close friends are worth their weight in gold. A walk, coffee, playdate or catch up with these friends makes you feel lighter - and those are the relationships you need to invest in.
- Think positive. Sometimes I hate this line (especially when my husband says it to me ‘midstress-moment’) but it’s true. A change of attitude it vital to deal with stress — “woe is me” just won’t help. Linked to this is to try your best to be here and now, and live in the moment. We don’t know what this crazy world or pandemic will bring — fourth wave? Booster shots? New variants? But what we do know is we need to think of today and not panic about what could be later on. Deep breaths.
- Find what works for you. Some want a hot bath with their fave music, others a sweaty run. Know what helps you with your anxiety in the immediate term and make that your go-to: book yourself a massage, watch your favourite show, have a cup of tea, yoga… whatever it may be embrace it, don’t apologise for it.
You’ve got this gal. Deep breaths and keep going!