If you are experiencing anxiety, stress, fear and worry, you’re not alone. 

It’s a very natural response to the global pandemic. Even people with a high stress threshold and excellent coping techniques need to step up their game at the moment. 

We’re collectively living in uncertain times. The world as we know it has changed in many ways. No one knows how it will pan out or how long it will last for. And we’re not used to dealing with change and uncertainty on this level and scale. The result is anxiety. 

Fear causes part of that anxiety. Some people describe it as a vague form of grief for the future that was fairly certain (called ‘anticipatory grief’). It doesn’t really matter whether we call it grief for a future that is no longer certain or fear for the unknown. Right now, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s ok not to be ok.  

The real question is, how can we handle this situation in the best possible way? What’s the best way to approach this uncertainty in a way that helps us escape a path of endless worrying about things we can’t do anything about… again adding to the anxiety. 

So really, how do we break the cycle? What are the coping mechanisms we can use to navigate these times and come out the other end as robust as we can be? 

1. Stay active.

Physical exercise is not just great to stay fit. It’s also an amazing immune booster. Even better,  because it burns off cortisol, it helps us feel calmer in the middle of all the turmoil. 

Some ideas:

2. Soak up nature.

There is mounting research of the healing effect nature has on our minds and bodies. If you have the chance of venturing out in nature, make it a daily habit. It will bring structure to your day as well. Try some of these:

3. Focus on the present.

 Aaaah… Mindfulness. With a future that is all but certain, it helps to stay in the present. When the worry takes over, pay attention to what goes around you, your body, your mind.

4. Laugh.

Laughing feels good, boosts our immune system and helps us keep things in perspective.  Laughing with others strengthens relationships and, because laughter is contagious, we laugh more with others. 

5. Be kind.

As stressed as we all are right now, what we need most of all is to be kind to each other and ourselves. 

6. The glass is half-full.

Deliberately focus on the good things in your life: maybe you feel grateful to have some quality time together, maybe you get to finally do that one project you never found time for, maybe you’re grateful for the beautiful sunny day. Just always remember that every challenge is also an opportunity. 

7. Stretch your mind.

What better time than now to learn something new? 

Remember, nothing lasts forever and this too will end. So let’s end with a Winston Churchill quote: 

‘It would be foolish to disguise the gravity of the hour. It would be more foolish to lose heart and courage’

I can’t wait to see what good comes out of this!