I do not pretend to be an expert, or even a strong novice but I do know a bit about overwhelm and anxiety. April is Stress Awareness Month and I thought I would take this opportuntiy to share my top tips for managing stress.
1. Give yourself a Digital Detox
I know that is hugely hypocritical to say while I'm typing this at a laptop and you will all read this on a screen but bear with me. Later I'll be giving myself half an hour of reading, some breathing practice and maybe I'll do some journalling. All with pen, paper and myself. My phone will be in another room and I will enjoy the silence!
2. Cut down on your news intake
The news seems relentlessly sad at the moment. Of course there are glimmers of hope, like Captain Tom Moore's incredible walk, and the Clap for our Carers but for the most part, it's pretty depressing. Try just to listen to the Government briefing, or turn off notifications on your phone.
3. Take a walk
We're only allowed out of the house once a day, so make the most of it! Try to find some green space around you, or just look up to the sky. The weather is just beautiful right now, cherish that time outside. If you walk the same route everyday, I guarantee you will notice new things each time.
4. Phone a friend
We are all in the same boat. Whether we're working from home, have children with us or are bored stiff because we're furloughed; there is someone out there who can empathise. Give them a bell!
5. Carve out some me time
Of course, this is much easier said than done. Figure out what "me time" is for you. If it's taking a slightly longer shower in the morning, or running a bath; or maybe it's listening to your favourite podcast while you do the washing up. Whatever it is, build it into your day, it will make a world of difference.
I am a recent convert to yoga but cannot recommend it enough. If you only have a few minutes try this by Yoga with Adrienne.
7. Make a backwards to do list
If everything just feels too much, take a step back and write down everything you have already done today. It could be that getting out of bed on a day where you really just wanted to watch Netflix is an achievement. Give yourself credit for what you're managing and remember that every day is different.
8. Break big tasks down
We all have those nagging jobs that always seem to end up on the to do list each week. For me, it's editing my website. In itself that's a massive job, but if I break it down page by page and make sure I do one thing a day, it really doesn't seem like such a slog.
9. Glass half full
Think positive! Again, easier said than done, but look for the positives in this enforced time of change. Is it the time to take a step back and look at your life goals? Is there something that you really want to accomplish and you can take the first steps now? Or is it that your children are really annoying you - but at least you're getting to spend more time with them.
This is so important to keeping bad thoughts and stress at bay. Without a refuelled tank, how can we face the day ahead? Apps like Calm have fantastic resources for aiding deep sleep if you're finding it difficult to drift off.
However you're coping with the current lockdown situation, know that we WILL get through this. Together. I really hope these tips work for you, as they have for me.
Welcome to the blog of Harriet Flather Musician!