5 ways to cope with stress

This post is up later than I had planned because I wrote it and got it ready to go and then promptly forgot to actually post it. Whoops.

Hello wonderful readers!

I hope everyone is still managing to stay safe and healthy through the pandemic – it’s definitely not easy! I take precautions whenever I have to go get groceries, and I hate wearing masks because hello! claustrophobia! But I keep reminding myself that this will only be temporary. One day, hopefully not too long from now, we won’t have to worry so much about being around other humans again. Won’t that be nice? I just want an evening out or to be able to go to the movies. Very silly things, but I’m allowed to feel a little selfish sometimes, I think.

Even though my personal life has only changed a little bit, I still find that my anxiety levels have been higher. The main reason, of course, is the uncertainty and the unpredictability. Husband has been on furlough for just over a month now and even though we have been and are still financially stable, it’s the uncertainty that stresses me out – not knowing when that consistent paycheck will be back. As someone who likes to plan ahead, I’ve definitely been forced to sit back and just take it one day at a time.

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Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash

Everyone has different ways of dealing with their stress and coping with the chaos that is the world right now. And even if we take the pandemic situation completely off the table, we still all deal with these feelings at some time or other. I sometimes find it interesting to see how others handle anxiety because its usually slightly different than mine – even The Dear Husband has some anxieties as well and he deals with it in a vastly different way than I would. It’s kind of fascinating, or it would be if I wasn’t talking about STRESS. Hahaha…

Breathing is one of the things I do the most. (I mean, duh.) There are a million techniques to calm anxieties with the breath alone – like the 4-7-8 method, for example. Just simple deep breathing is helpful though, nothing special.

Grounding can also help pull my mental state out of whatever funk I was in before. My current technique is a 54321 idea, where you identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. It can be very helpful to just refocus on the immediate surroundings and bring yourself back into the moment.

Singular Focus. If I find that I’m so stressed I can’t even focus on the above grounding technique though, I’ll focus instead on only one of my senses at a time, either by burning a candle or incense so that my sense of smell is activated or by listening to music as a way to bring my mind back whenever it wanders across the line into chaotic territory.

Writing things down is one technique that my therapist constantly reminds me to do as well. Free-writing or association isn’t easy for me as a very precise writer, but I’ve been taking the time to practice because sometimes it really does help to braindump, and having the option is great.

Acceptance can also be a way to overcome some of the really tough spots. Denying the negative feelings that come up doesn’t really help because it doesn’t deal with them, it merely shuts them up in a box and puts them away. Acknowledging that “yes, I am angry and that’s okay” can really provide a chance to FEEL that emotion and then maybe uncover a way to move past it. This is also something that is super hard for me because I don’t like negative feelings so I beat myself up over them and can never move past them. The handful of times that I’ve actually sat down and acknowledged that I was feeling guilty or sad and allowed myself the chance to just be with those emotions for a little bit, I’ve been able to process and work through them much better.

Obviously, none of these are perfect ways to overcome stress and anxiety, but they are definitely good ways to cope and start working through some of the issues. With all the chaos in the world right now, I think everyone is going through some added stress, and it is far too easy to let things turn into a vicious cycle which can then be difficult to break free from. But identifying the issue is sometimes half the battle. We can do this!


Love, light, and kindness,

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Posted by katharine_marie

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