What’s your way of coping?
Develop your own ways to cope during difficult times
If there’s anything the past couple of years have taught me, it’s that life doesn’t always go to plan. Some events are simply out of our control and that can be an unsettling realisation. While we can’t plan for every eventuality, there are things we can do to make sure we are resilient and able to physically and mentally weather the storms that inevitably come our way.
Events that are beyond our control, such as living through a pandemic where you have to be aware of the threat of a virus and modify your behaviour and lifestyle to help prevent infection and spread. This can put your nervous system under a lot pressure.
When your nervous system is constantly ‘on guard’, it’s normal to feel wound up, anxious, stressed, worried, irritable, sad or frustrated. You could be feeling any or many of these. These feelings are normal but there are a few things that I have tried to help calm the nervous system, quieten my busy mind and feel more grounded.
Controlled, slow breathing with awareness.
When we breathe deeply, in a focussed way, it helps switch off the part of our nervous system that controls our ‘fight or flight response’, and switches on the part that helps us rest and relax.
Deep breathing also helps the parts of the brain that handle anxiety. Sitting in one place and doing it diligently, has also taught me how easy it is develop a habit.
I had heard about this last year in one of the webinars during the first lockdown. I read it in a blog recently and tried it too. You have to try it to experience this.
Grounding calm us down and tricks our mind to stay in the present.
Look around for five things that you can see and say them out loud. For example, ‘I see the window, I see the candle, etc.’
Pay attention to your body and think of four things that you can feel and say them out loud.
Listen for three things you can hear. Name them out loud.
Name two things you can smell.
Name one thing you can taste.
A book creates its own world and takes you there too. Have you ever, while reading book paused to think what the next few pages hold. I feel books transport you to another place when you physically can’t go anywhere. During the first lockdown I took part in a book exchange activity and as a result received several books, all favourite books of strangers who took part in the same activity. This reignited my wanting to read and I have read a few very good books. I also strongly believe that books are a great way to take the eyes off from the many screens.
Regular exercise is a great stress buster. We all know about this and I am sure have tried it too. I have found by practice that consistency is the key to making it work.
Yoga practice 3 times a week improves my mood and decreases anxiety. Yoga (online sessions) was something that I was looking forward to during the multiple times I have had to isolate and quarantine myself and now during the lockdown too.(I have lost count of the no. of times I have survived a lockdown now).
I was under the misconception that I needed to be in the studio with others and exchanging energies for yoga to be effective. I am glad that I tried what I believed was uncomfortable and surprised myself. Now, I look forward to these online sessions when I am on a far away Island under lockdown. The more limitations I can take out of doing exercise, the more likely I am to consistently stick to it.
These definitely, helped me with the anxiety issues, the mood swings, sleep issues, energy levels, and ability to focus on work.
Let me know what’s your way of coping and what’s worked for you.