23 Apr When the world feels out of control – what can you do to keep grounded?
Well, Corona has come in and turned our worlds upside down. No friend meet ups? No college or school to go to? No sport!
The world we knew seems like a distant memory and we now seem to be waking up faced with a crazy, daunting and unpredictable reality.
The curve may be flattening but thousands of us have been left impacted in some shape or form.
Anxiety, stress and the general feeling of being out of control is now commonplace among many of us as we remain unsure of what our new world will look like when we come out of social distancing.
Will my part time jobs be ok? Can we travel? Can we go to our favourite Thai restaurant? Some questions may seem trivial, but all will impact us in different ways.
In a world that seems so unfamiliar, how can we feel grounded and safe each day?
We’ve put together some of my top tips to help keep some sense of normality through COVID-19.
Top Tips to Keep Grounded During COVID-19
Learn how to disconnect
It’s extremely hard to avoid anything to do with COVID-19, but it’s important to try and tune it out every now and then. Switch mainstream TV off and perhaps hit an old-fashioned book or magazine to keep your mind occupied.
It’s important to not only avoid the news but also just generally – give yourself a break from technology.
Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside when an email or text that will change your train of thought appears.
Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule.
Forcing yourself offline and even turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.
Get enough exercise and sleep
Even though we have been forced to stay behind closed doors, getting out and about to exercise and enjoy fresh air is VITALLY important.
We should focus on the fact that we should be practicing social distancing not social isolation – you don’t need to lock yourself up all day (unless you are in medical quarantine!).
Allocate at least an hour to walk, run, cycle….whatever takes your fancy.
Sleep is equally as important, and exercise helps sleep! When you sleep, your brain literally recharges so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough — or the right kind — of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own!
Win little goals
When we feel overwhelmed, it is hard to take on any large project, so focus on little actions you can complete successfully. Avoid the build-up of jobs (work or home) to help ease your anxiety.
Clean the fridge, get the washing done, water the plants, call your parents. All of these are jobs that we can do simply and easily every day. Little wins can make all the difference.
Why not have a job list that includes all of the little things you’ve been meaning to do over the last year and tick them off as you go. Nothing gives satisfaction like a crossed off ‘to-do’ list!
Be kind with your words
Even when we feel under extreme stress it’s important to maintain control of what we say to others. Unkind words can come back to haunt us and make us feel twice as bad.
Once out, the things you say cannot be taken back.
Perhaps use this time to think about how we project our feelings and treat those around us? Perhaps you could rekindle a broken friendship or reach out to someone who you have lost touch with? Write a letter to your grandparents?
Kindness is a fantastic medicine.
Utilise your support network
It’s easy to crawl into a shell when we feel overwhelmed, yet it is at this point that we need the most help.
To be calm and productive, you need to recognise your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed.
Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.
Friends have a great way of picking us up when we feel down.
Use professional support when you need it
You see a doctor when you feel unwell, or a physio when you hurt your back – so what do you do when your mind is working against you?
This is the exact time when you should be seeking support to work through your thoughts and develop strategies to move forward.
Psychologists can support you in ways you never understood and will help you structure your thoughts in a way that will help you gain control. Never be afraid to reach out to a professional, we are trained to help you feel at ease and get you started.
No matter where you are and what your situation is, remember – this will pass.
The team at Study and Play USA are always here to support and hope you all keep safe and healthy!