Acknowledge your feelings.
- Take a moment to pause any activity you are doing and check with yourself – how are you feeling?
- Acknowledge whatever feelings do come up. Do not judge them. It is very normal to feel anxious, fearful, stressed or overwhelmed (or any other feeling), especially during these difficult times.
- Name your feelings – be specific, don’t just settle for ‘I feel bad’, name it, anxious, fearful, overworked… It can be challenging, but it definitely helps.
What can you do?
- You can go beyond just naming the feelings and start to journal about them. Put all of your fears and worries or anything that is on your mind on a page. No one else is going to read it and it helps to get some distance from the feeling itself.
- Take your anxiety and fear seriously – what is it you fear? How likely it is to happen? Can you prepare for it?
- If you realize you are catastrophizing or ruminating about things you cannot predict, consciously acknowledge it and redirect your focus somewhere else (anything that you find soothing, music, physical exercise, cooking…)
- Physical exercise that keeps you more in your body than in your head helps. Find out what you enjoy (it can be conditioning, yoga, dancing…) and find ways to include it in your daily schedule.
- Use any form of mindfulness practice to better self-manage. It can be a sitting or breathing meditation or one with a guide who talks you through a practice. Mindfulness is based on attention and being present – where are you putting your attention in these moments? Look online for tips and to find a practice that might suit you.
- Be self-compassionate. In difficult times it’s crucial you are able to empathize with yourself.
- Reach out to others, self-isolation doesn’t mean you need to be cut off from people. Stay in touch with your family, friends, colleagues and also consider professional online help via video calls.
- Remember – everyone is different, so experiment and find out what works best for you.
- Be realistic with your expectations – reducing your anxiety is a process and a journey. It won’t happen overnight, but every small step will count.
- As you are working with your anxiety (or any other feelings), notice there is more in you than just this feeling. Notice the part that is observing/taking care of your anxiety.
- How does this part feel? How are the two getting along? Are they talking to each other? Maybe you can notice how each of them feels within your body.
- Here is a video for you to gather tips on staying in control during times of crisis. Thank you to Lizzy Bernthal for producing this for us.
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