01 Apr 3 Simple Strategies to Feel OK During a Crisis
We’re all experiencing the COVID-19 crisis. This current state of our world involves considerable stress, overwhelming changes, and overall disruption to our daily lives and routine. While we’re all waiting for things to resolve, and therefore for the day when we can return to normalcy again, the goal is for us to manage all of this to the best of our abilities. So, we’ll use this time to look at several realistic, practical, and simple strategies to start feeling better right away:
Reduce Your Overall Stress Level
When we endure a crisis, our body responds with a stress response. Specifically, our bodies do such actions as release chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol, increase heart rate, and, overall, attempt to best prepare us to effectively react to a problem. While these kinds of stress responses are healthy in the short term in the right circumstances, they become unhealthy when we are constantly experiencing them. You want to try your best, then, to achieve a sense of peace and calm for even small portions of the day for at least a few days each week. Here are some ways to accomplish this:
- Journal every day about any topic that interests you (preferably one that doesn’t stir up negative emotions).
- Engage in any healthy endeavor that requires you to prominently focus on it, as doing so is one of the best ways to reduce stress, tension, and anxiety. Some examples of this are doing yoga or reading a book.
Experience and Voice Your Feelings
Many (if not most) of us tend to regularly find ways to distract ourselves from, and therefore dampen and sometimes avoid, negative feelings. This is completely normal and understandable. It isn’t exactly lovely, for instance, to experience sadness and anxiety. The problem here, though, is that when we don’t feel and voice our emotions, at least to some extent, we tend to get stuck in them more easily and in a more intense way. I encourage you, then, to take some time throughout each week to notice what you’re feeling, attempt to really experience it, and vent about it with someone with whom you trust and like. When we voice our negative feelings, we tend to help reduce them.
Develop and Maintain a Routine
Crises, such as the current one, try their best to ruin all the structure and routine in our lives. Perhaps you used to go to the gym most days of the week; now, you can’t. I know how disheartening and unfortunate it feels to have some or many of the things you used to do yanked away from you. It doesn’t mean you can’t fight to maintain some degree of a daily routine and structure. In fact, it’s crucial that you do so, as it is one of the fundamental ways to maintain a sense of peace and comfort during this time. Here are some ways to do so:
- Schedule at least 1 rewarding activity a day that makes you feel happier and calmer, as well as proud of yourself.
- Each day, at least 1-2x/day, remind yourself of the crucial importance of engaging in these activities consistently. It’s easy for us to lose sight of healthy endeavors; by continually reminding yourself of the need to partake in these activities, you’re much more likely to follow through.