3 steps to feeling calmer in stressful and anxious times that may surprise you

By Sofia Potente

Feel calmer during stressful and anxious times, naturally.

Dealing with fear, anxiety and overwhelm is a daily reality for many, during these unprecedented times of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Never before has it been more important to look after our emotional health, as the things we took for granted – our health, income and freedom – come under question.  

So how can we get through times of uncertainty and stress, with more resilience and calm?  

Some may call it having healthy ways to cope. I think of it as a ‘self care toolbox’ – ways of thinking, and simple tools and habits that can help us get through each day.  

We can’t control our outer world but we ALWAYS have a choice how we respond.  

Here are three steps to help shift your perspective, ease stress, and feel more in control over the coming months. It may seem a little off topic from my usual posts – but it’s very much connected to my passion for healthy homes and family wellness overall.  

1.      Relax your expectations  

Are you expecting yourself to just carry on as usual, and do what you usually do? Please stop now!  

Life has changed – and by expecting ourselves to do the same as we’ve always done, we’re just creating extra stress and anxiety.  

Relax the reins, be kind to yourself and decide what’s negotiable and non-negotiable.

Personally, my usual rules about what I need to ‘get done’ are being stripped back to what’s most important.  

For me, that means time with the kids. Fun family time daily. Happy movement and play. Nourishing foods. Positive fuel for the mind. Tuning inwards.  

What’s less important?  

My long to-do list. My need for a tidy home. My usually rigid routine of a morning solo run and me-time. Yep, my Virgo overachieving self is being taught some valuable lessons right now about flexibility and slowing down!  

I’m being more realistic and aiming for just one important task a day – anything extra is a bonus. Creating a new flexible routine that will work for the whole family, and allow for interruptions and spontaneity is key!  

Could this be a time for you to do the same?

Could you take the pressure off yourself – and loosen your expectations? What can you let go of? Because let’s face it – many of us are in survival mode doing the best we can.   

What else can you do to make life easier right now? Perhaps take extra leave? Make the most of audio books or virtual lessons if you’re homeschooling? Let go of your usual rules about screentime?  

2. Look for the silver lining 

In times of darkness, we can always choose to look for the lessons, and count our blessings. OK, yes it’s a cliche – but for good reason. Don’t get me wrong – these are challenging times to say the least. We’re allowed to feel deflated, anxious, fearful or whatever we’re going through.   

But as the Dalai Lama once said, ‘pain is inevitable, suffering is optional’. Acceptance and letting go of what we can’t control will help us move through this time with more ease, and less struggle.  

So what could be the silver lining for you? Become aware of your thoughts – and see if you can flip it to a more positive point of view.  

I’m choosing to focus on the positives of more time at home – and gratitude for what we DO have, rather than what we don’t.  

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