By Belinda Pieterse – Wellness Counsellor en Transformation Life Coach
The times we are in right now are challenging and uncertain. Many of us are overwhelmed with fear, stress and anxiety. We are experiencing a loss of control and some of us even feel hopeless.
It is normal to feel the fear, stress and anxiety creeping up in our hearts and minds. These are unusual circumstances, and we are merely human. However, we need to do our utmost best not to allow these emotions to root themselves in our hearts and minds.
Now, more than ever before, we need to gather all the courage we have to implement the necessary actions to take back control. What do we have control over? Our reaction towards everything that is happening. Yes, it is possible, and I believe you are more than able.
Here are some practical tips on how to deal with fear, stress and anxiety in these troubling times.
Understand the difference between fear, stress and anxiety
Fear is an unpleasant emotion due to the threat of danger, pain or harm.
- Stress is our natural response to external factors that cause us to feel like we are at a loss of control.
- Anxiety kicks in when fear and stress are not dealt with and it can harm our total wellbeing.
Tips on dealing with fear, stress and anxiety
Take care of your mind
Our thoughts influence how we feel, act, see the world around us and eventually who we become. Therefore it is crucial to take care of our minds during stressful times.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the things I cannot control? I cannot control the Coronavirus, lockdown or the future.
- What can I control? I can control what I think, focus on, and how I react in my current situation.
- How do I take back control of my mind/negative thoughts? Here are some practical steps:
- Watch the news to stay up to date, but do not focus on the negative all the time.
- Start your day or end your day (or both!) with a gratitude journal, where you write down one thing you are grateful for, every day.
- Read a book on self-development.
Take care of your emotions
We are human, and therefore we struggle with our emotions. It is vital not to allow our feelings to dictate our actions, by healthily dealing with them.
Once again, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I feeling, right now? Anger, frustration, doubt, fear.
- What can I do to get these emotions out of my system? Here are some practical steps:
- Talk to a trustworthy friend who will listen and not necessarily go down the rabbit hole with you.
- Join online support groups where you can be part of a community who are facing the same challenges.
- Keep a “This is how I feel” journal.
- Have grace with yourself.
Take care of your body
Our bodies are the only vehicle we have to build a life here on earth, therefore taking care of our bodies is essential.
Here are a few tips:
- Move your body. I know space might be a challenge right now, but we can do simple movements such as stretching, pacing up and down, or use an exercise app, e.g.: a 7-minute workout.
- Eat healthily. Do not give in to binge eating. Stick to a healthy eating plan as this will improve your immune system and help protect you against the Coronavirus.
- Get enough sleep. I know that this can be a challenge and it is hugely dependent on our circumstances. However, we must try to get at least between 6 and 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. If this is difficult, try to take power naps during the day.
Other practical steps.
- Concentrate on your breathing.
- Do what you love: creative activities, reading, baking.
- Take a warmth bath/shower.
- Stay connected with family and friends. The internet has powerful resources we can use such as Zoom, Whereby, Google Hangouts.
- Arrange fun activities with your family such as playing cards, boardgames, or charades.
Use this time optimally
How we choose to approach this episode in our lives will greatly influence and determine our future, not only as a nation but also as individuals because we as individuals build this great nation of ours.
It is my heart’s desire that in this period we take this much needed time to reflect, reposition and restore.
- Reflect: What is working in our lives and what is not?
- Reposition: What must we change to ensure that growth will be the result?
- Restore: What must we put in place to make the growth happen?
Let us not waste this time given to us, lets us use this time optimally and make sure that we are ready to grow as individuals and as a nation.
We cannot control what happens around us, but we can control how we react towards it.
Please remember, taking control is a process. Every time you feel fear, stress, and anxiety creeping up on you, you must willfully turn your attention to the tips I have provided. It will not come automatically. However, if we push through and persevere, we will conquer these feelings.
Be safe, stay focused, have grace with yourself and support one another.