Nothing is more stressful than uncertainty. Whether we’re feeling unsafe in the world after watching the news (can you relate?!), or your employer is making cuts, or if you’re at a crossroads with a job or relationship, it’s scary to feel like our lives are out of control.
As humans, we like predictability. We feel safe when we feel in control and can anticipate what is likely to happen in our lives. Unfortunately, we often hit patches when it seems like a lot is coming at us all at once, and these prolonged periods of uncertainty can lead to trouble sleeping, irritability, and physical symptoms, otherwise known as stress. This can be especially hard to deal with in work positions where we’re required to lead others. Teachers, HR professionals and team leaders may especially feel extra pressure to cope so their worries don’t impact those they serve.
How To Cope When You’re Stressed And Unsure
Prioritize sleep. Now is not the time to stay up late or get up extra early. Your brain and body need plenty of rest to rejuvenate to manage the stress of your waking hours. Dealing with personal stress uses a lot of energy. Set a bedtime and stick with it. Make your bedroom as dark as possible, turn down the heat at night, and try sleeping with earplugs if you’re a light sleeper. You may also want to consider a melatonin* supplement if you have trouble falling asleep.
Exercise and eat well. We’re not saying that you need to start an intense new exercise or healthy eating regime (because those things can make your stress worse) but make sure to fit in some enjoyable movement every day like a walk or yoga. Exercise is great for reducing stress, but only if you can enjoy it! Indulge in your comfort food, but make sure to eat plenty of nutritious foods too. Have a solid breakfast that will get you through the morning. Add some vegetables to your dinner, even if you buy the precut kind you can just dump on a plate or throw in the microwave to steam. Stress is taxing on your body, especially if it doesn’t have the nutrients to run properly.
Find some stillness every day. This is especially true for parents and those in “giving” jobs. Take at least a few minutes each day to journal, read a novel, or sit quietly and look out the window. You could do this for a few minutes in the morning and evening when your kids are asleep or on a work break (you do take breaks, right? Good, just checking!). This will give your mind a chance to reset so you can better handle the needs of others.
Find support. You might be used to taking care of other people all the time, but now is a good time to let other people take care of you. If a friend offers to help, let them. Find someone you can talk to, vent to, and lean on when you need a listening ear. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’d be happy to help a loved one if they were going through a rough time so allow a good friend or family member do the same for you. Remember, you don’t have to deal with everything on your own.
Don’t forget fun. Fun might be the last thing on your mind right now, but you’ve probably never needed it more. Take every opportunity to laugh or be silly, even if you just watch a funny TV show while you eat dinner or listen to upbeat dance music in the car during your commute. There’s nothing like a dance break or belly laugh to boost your mood!
Practice gratitude. You might be rolling your eyes and blowing this off as silly self-help nonsense with no basis in reality, but tapping into gratitude has some serious stress-reducing benefits. Before bed every night (or whenever you need a boost), make a list of ten things you’re grateful for, even if it’s just the pretty weather that day or the fact that you live in a home with heat and running water. Focusing on the good things helps take your attention off the bad things, which feels pretty good. It also opens you up for opportunity and solutions when you allow your brain to look for the good in your world.
Rough times happen. Job loss, divorce, a scary health diagnosis in ourselves or loved ones, current events, can really knock us off balance, but there are ways to cope.
Breathe deeply. Life is filled with moments to manage so embrace a new tool or practice and make today better than the day before.
I work with high-achievers and those in the caring professions to incorporate the Soul Success System. Let me show you how.