During a difficult time—like the one we’re all experiencing now—burnout is a very real threat.
We all deal with stress and pressure on a daily basis, and we come up with coping mechanisms to help us manage our daily stresses.
But what happens when our usual outlets and coping mechanisms are no longer available?
Thanks to the current pandemic, a lot of the typical “stress-relievers” aren’t an option anymore:
We can’t go to the movies because cinemas are closed
We can’t enjoy dinner and drinks with our friends because the city is on lockdown
We can’t work through our stress because gyms are closed
We can’t relax even when at home because we’re working from home so it’s now feeling like a “workplace” rather than our “safe haven”
The sad truth is that we’re all dealing with a lot more stress than usual, thanks to the current situation in the world. Whatever your profession, whatever you typically do to unwind and de-stress, you’re going to be feeling it more than ever.
Which is why it’s more important than ever that you find a way to manage your stress before it grows so large that it turns into burnout!
Here are some simple, healthy stress self-management tricks that will help you keep your life in balance and stop the daily pressures from becoming too much to bear:
Integrate Self-Care Into Your Daily Life
It’s vital that you take time to give yourself some attention, self-care, and time off from the stress of life!
You’ve got a lot going on in your day, but for the next week, make it a point to include at least 20 minutes per day when you just do something that makes you happy.
That could mean:
Getting in a quick workout amid your busy schedule
Reading a chapter or two of a good book
Watching a funny TV show
Taking a nap
Pampering yourself with a home spa treatment
Taking a bath
Whatever it is that makes you feel happy and relaxed, do it!
Start off with just 20 minutes a day, but work your way up to 30, 45, or even 60 minutes. Carve out a bit of time in your day to give your mind and body the break it needs.
For some people, being more active is the key to dealing with stress, so going for a run or getting a workout will be their outlet. For others, it’s all about relaxing and moving as little as possible, and that’s absolutely valid, too!
Whatever it is, make it a part of your day every day.
Connect with Others
You can’t connect physically with all of your friends and family members, but you still have the virtual option. Make it a point to video call at least one person a day so you have some connection to the outside world.
Social interactions and connections are vital for not only managing stress, but also reducing anxiety and depression. The benefits you derive from direction interaction with people aren’t replicated identically when virtually connecting, but it’s a suitable alternative—and the only one a lot of us have during this time.
Get Out of the House
During the time of isolation, being indoors is the worst thing you can do! You’ll need to be inside for work, but any chance you’ve got to get out of the house, take it.
Yes, getting out of the house to go grocery shopping or run errands can be stressful, but that’s not the only place you should be going. As much as possible, make it a point to go out into nature, away from people, where you’re surrounded by peace, quiet, natural beauty, and fresh air.
Studies have found that being in nature is amazing for stress management. Get out into the mountains, forests, on the lake, or in the ocean. Just be out in nature—your body and mind will thank you!
Give Yourself “White Space”
White space is a term used in illustration and page layout to describe “negative space left unmarked or blank between objects, lines of text, and figures”.
This negative space is vital to stop everything on the page from overwhelming your brain, as it gives your mind and eyes a break between important items that they need to focus on.
Your life needs some white space, too! You need time to just give your mind and eyes a break before moving on from one important, urgent, and stressful situation to another.
How can you give yourself white space?
Sit quietly on the couch for 5-10 minutes with your eyes closed
Cook a meal
Listen to soft music
Go outside and take a walk around the block
Enjoy a fresh cup of coffee or an ice cold drink
Basically, anything that helps you to relax without engaging your mind is going to be amazing negative space. It will help you clear your thoughts, rest your eyes and brain, and refresh you. You’ll go back to work, socializing, or enjoying your time off with a clear head!
One of the best ways to counteract stress is with exercise!
Exercise helps to let off steam that’s been building up, and the self-hypnotic rhythms, movements, and repetitions of your workout can do wonders to clear stressful thoughts from your mind. You’ll find that the rush of adrenaline and the post-workout “high” you get will make you feel so much better.
No matter how busy your days are, always include time for a bit of activity. Even if it’s just a walk around the block or a short at-home workout, you need to do it. Your body and mind will be so much healthier if you include exercise—light, moderate, or vigorous, whatever you can do—into your busy and stressful days.
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