Tools to Navigate What 2020 Throws at You
Updated: Sep 4
Yep. 2020's Hits Keep Coming...
For many of us, life is pretty darn hard. Work may be uncertain and intense. We are walk around in a state of hyper-vigilance to avoid catching COVID-19. Important social justice/anti-racist protests and workplace conversations are being held all across our country. Working parents are navigating new school scenarios while also trying to keep up at work... and on and on.
All those stressors are adding up.
The CDC recently stated that
41% of US citizens are facing mental health challenges.
That rate is three times higher than just a year ago.
All these issues (and more) are taking a toll on the lives of my friends, family, clients and colleagues. While no one stress management or stress reduction tool works for everyone, there are techniques that work for most. The three most common techniques I recommend to my clients include:
Just Breathe. When you are really feeling stressed, one of the easiest things you can do - no matter where you are - is breathe. You have to do it anyway, so why not do it in a way that helps reduce your stress hormones and get you back into your less-stressed mind. Dr. Andrew Weil offers three easy techniques
Make a List of 5 Things that PIVOT You From Stress. When you feel stressed, we have a choice: stay in a stressed state or do something else. (It sounds easy to walk away from stress; we all know it is not). The goal is when you feel stressed, you take a healthy action that gets you closer to your natural set point (less stressed). Make a list of 5 things you can do that you enjoy - taking a walk, petting the dog, calling a friend. Then, post the list where you can see it. This helps train your brain to do one of those actions when you are feeling stressed. (Learn more in my step-by-step blog post here.)
Step Back and See the Whole Picture. When we are stressed, we often have tunnel vision. It can feel like work and life are overwhelming and there is no end in sight. When we step back, we can see that there is usually a bigger picture. This technique does not ask you to "Pollyanna" your way out of stress - there is no benefit in denying your stress or telling yourself that you "should not" feel this way. Instead, try to see the whole 360-degree picture. What is really true about your situation? What are some of the positives? What are you losing AND gaining? What else can you learn?
If the latter half of 2020 is like the first half, more hits will come (those Murder Hornets are still on the loose!). So, putting a few more tools in your self-care toolkit will be key to navigating any choppy waters ahead!