There’s no denying that this is a stressful situation. You’re spending 24 hours a day with your family, your partner, your housemate, or even on your own, plus you might have worries about your financial situation, yours and your family’s health and the plans you had made for the next few months.
So, we wanted to put together some simple ideas to help you cope with stress.
Get plenty of rest
Nothing beats actual rest to calm your emotions and reduce stress. Try and make time every day for a few moments of quiet, whether it’s a warm bath when you’ve finished home-schooling the kids, a chapter of a good book before bed, or just watching the world go by with a hot cup of tea, it all helps rebalance negative emotions and refresh your mind.
Extra stress means it can be difficult to sleep at night time and then a lack of sleep means you’re not dissipating as much cortisol which makes you stressed and can turn into a vicious cycle. To help you sleep, try counting back from 100 in threes to tire your mind or avoid screens for the two hours before you go to bed. If you’re awake worrying, keep a notepad by your bedside and make a list of what’s on your mind to be dealt with when you wake up the next day.
Spending just a few minutes a day on meditation can help to restore calm and reduce stress. It can easily be practised on your own and you don’t need any special equipment, just a few minutes of quality time. Here are some easy meditation techniques for you to try:
Focus your attention on your breathing and breathe deeply and slowly through your nose. When your attention starts to wander, bring it back to your breath.
Focus your attention on different parts of your body and become aware of the different sensations you experience in each part.
Create your own mantra or find one to suit you on the internet. Repeat the mantra either out loud or in your head, while focussing solely on the words.
Talk it out
When you’re caught up with stress, it’s easy to feel like you’re all alone. Always remember that there are people out there who care about you and want to help. Try to talk to trusted colleagues, friends or family about the things that are stressing you out. Simply talking about your feelings can help take a weight off your shoulders.
Sometimes it is easier to talk with a stranger, though, and there are plenty of people out there to listen. The Samaritans have a free 24-hour helpline offering confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Call 116 123 to talk to someone.
Exercising reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones and produces endorphins which make you feel good and studies have shown that regular exercise reduces stress. There are so many different types of exercise that you’re sure to find the one that works for you.
There are plenty of online exercise classes to take part in at the moment so why not try PE with Joe Wicks, a fun daily live streamed HIIT workout from The Body Coach, Rachel Lawrence Pilates or some home bodyweight exercises from This Girl Can. There are lots of other ideas over on the Sport England website.
Do something you enjoy
Making time for a hobby works wonders for coping with stress. Although you might be busy with the kids or working at home, try to put aside some time for yourself. Spending 10 minutes a day learning a new language, cooking something a little more ambitious for dinner, or making sure that you take your daily exercise outside can make all the difference to your mental health.
If you’re still working, taking some time away from your work can also help you be more productive and enthusiastic when you go back to it, which in itself helps put you in a more positive mindset.
Train yourself to think positive and appreciate what you have, rather than concentrating on things that aren’t going so well. Try writing down or saying out loud at the end of each day three things that you’re grateful for or three things which have gone well.
Finding stress-busting techniques that are effective for you is a bit of trial and error, and what works for one person may not work for another. Support looks different for us all, but finding positive coping strategies for our mental health will have huge benefits for us at this difficult time.