Take a breath in, and a deep breath out. There’s no denying we are living in chaotic times. Whenever I open my computer or scroll through my phone, I’m inundated with images and posts—some real and some downright fake—about the state of the world we live in and what’s happening next. It seems like I can’t escape and can’t ease anxiety in stressful times, no matter what I do.
But there’s hope and healing. And I know this because even in the craziness, I see it around me. I see it when my boyfriend’s son smiles at me, when I take the dog for a walk and see people politely keeping their distance, when I hear laughter through a screen and recognize that I’m still connected to those around me, and when I see people share about their own experience as reminders that none of us are alone.
I’m no ‘wellness guru’ or mindfulness expert, but what I have learned are ways to cope. And as a passionate person whose entire career is interwoven in helping people (particularly through words), I wanted to share them. Here are seven ways to ease anxiety in stressful times:
1. Create a semblance of a routine.
I’ve always been driven by routines. It’s wired within me; it’s my blood. I love when my days are structured and ordered. This helps me to problem-solve, to get things done, and to feel empowered. When our routines are completely changed, it can be difficult. It can feel as if you’re lost, or worse, as if you don’t know who you are anymore.
Whenever possible, try to give yourself some structure. Even something as simple as setting an alarm (even if your remote work doesn’t require it) will help you to keep order and organization in your time. ‘Scheduling’ work vs. playtime is helpful, too. I say schedule lightly because when you’re not required to keep a set schedule for work, this may feel strange. But being intentional about when you’re doing different things on your plate will help to keep you focused (and encouraged).
2. Surround yourself with things that uplift you.
You can ease anxiety in stressful times when you focus on things and people that inspire you. Sometimes this is as simple as unfollowing negative feeds or turning off the news for a while. Sometimes it’s about disconnecting from people (and maybe even people in your household) who are bringing you down.
You can also choose to change your environment. Tape quotes or pictures on your walls, change your desktop or phone background, or take a walk each day to get out of the house. Make sure that you’re also looking inward, too. You can do all that you can to shift what’s around you, but taking a critical look at your heart and mind will help you to feel more positive, too.
3. Focus on small, healthy habits.
When your day-to-day life changes, it’s hard to keep yourself on track. Rather than freaking out or trying to focus on long-term goals right now, give yourself the grace and space to pursue the little habits, first. Take a shower every day. Drink several cups of water. Brush your hair. Go for a walk.
These may seem like tiny things, but it’s the small things that matter when everything else falls apart. Focus on what feels manageable and start to build from there. You can’t possibly have everything figured out right now, and that’s okay. Figure out what you can do, and start to do it (while being patient).
4. Make peace with change.
Easing anxiety comes as a result of accepting change. Change is inevitable. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck sometimes, (because it does!) but it does mean that if we choose to embrace our lack of control, we can make it a little more manageable.
Try to make peace with the change. No, you’re not working in an office anymore, but are you blessed and able to still work remotely? No, your child isn’t in school, but is it possible to still provide an education with some homeschool classes? There are options. You will be okay.
5. Soak up inspiring content.
Now, more than ever, it’s time to invest in yourself and fill your cup with things that will build and grow you from this moment forward. Outside of changing your environment and focusing on the good, try to actively pursue things that will bring you hope.
In an effort to support people during these trying times, I’ve teamed up with Simple Habit, a meditation app, and shared some heartfelt audio clips about finding identity, healing, and acceptance in trying times. You can listen right here.
PS: If you’d like a 7-day FREE TRIAL, use the code click here, create an account, and use the code ‘MARISA’ – the trial will be applied to your mobile app (iOS and Android)!
6. Connect with others.
You’re not alone. I can’t say this enough. It’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos of moments like this and forget who you are. But there are so many other people around you who feel your pain and care about your struggle. You’re not struggling alone.
Connect with others. Schedule video and phone calls. Be intentional about your time. Check in with those who may be in a tough mental place. Allow yourself to be open and ask for help when necessary. And above all, remember that we’re in this together. This isn’t just your fight.
Featured Image Credit: TONL