There is no doubt about it, tension and emotions have been running high for a few weeks now. And rightly so, we are all worried about our families, our health, our businesses and jobs and things seem to be changing by the minute and the first reaction can be panic.
Pressure is a positive force when you’re in command of the situation however, as human beings, when we lose our sense of control, we can quickly feel overwhelmed and anxious. Unfortunately, severe anxiety and stress can result in a complete meltdown and can actually cause long term damage to our health as stress lowers the immune system.
When we go into a state of panic, the body immediately activates the stress mechanisms. Essentially, preparing us for fight or flight. When we feel threatened, we can start to feel symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, irritability, and anxiety, among others.
According to all of the studies, there are two different types of pressure, internal and external. Internal comes from pushing yourself too hard or from worrying what others think of you. External comes from outside sources for example other peoples behaviour towards you. At the moment, we will all be experiencing a mix of both as the world landscape changes as we speak.
That being said, there are things that we can all do to help us cope with confidence and keep in control when the pressure starts to weigh you down.
Many of the world’s greatest leaders could not have reached their level of success without learning how to stay calm under pressure. They have the ability to develop and maintain a particular state of psychological readiness, a mental preparedness they summon on demand- and we can all learn this too.
As a mum of two young girls and wellbeing and resilience expert for heart led women, I know just how important it is to remain calm and build a nurturing and safe environment. Here are our 7 daily habits for you and your family to thrive during this time.
1- Take Care of Your Mind- take time to process- slow down. If possible, take time to absorb all the information and process. Just Breathe. We can all react emotionally when we are tired and overwhelmed. It is ok to feel emotional at this time as we ride the rollercoaster of uncertainty.
2- Rituals and routines- To better cope, develop a ritual you enjoy. Perhaps choose to meditate in the morning, sing, dance, do a breathing exercise, take a warm bubble bath, read a great book. You should also look to do as many of the things as you could before but tailored to accommodate the current circumstances, so for example, don’t suddenly sleep until lunch time if you are not working.
3- Disconnect to reconnect- turn the phone and tv off for a while- rest. With information overload, it is important to pull away from the situation for a while, even if only for an hour or two. When you give yourself time to process a situation and the surrounding emotions, you’ll be able to approach it with a fresh perspective. We will use this as a time where we take the time to take our focus inward and appreciate a simpler way of living.
4- Take Care of Your Body– Ground. Have some strategies in place to reset and relax- to access your sense of calm and wellbeing. If we make our personal health and wellbeing a priority, in general terms it is proven that we are better equipped to handle a crisis which is so important right now. As the saying goes, the medicine is in the food and nature has the answers, therefore eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting fresh air and receiving plenty of sleep is crucial. By improving our health, we’ll increase our self control, memory and emotional intelligence which are all important in responding well under pressure.
5- Take Care of Your Environment– Physically and mentally. Declutter and clean your space. Decluttering can make you happy not only by improving your mental health, but also by improving your overall physical health.
6- Energise Yourself. Without energy, you’re likely to feel burnout, emotionally exhausted by all the pressure, and a lack of drive to tackle it. So, get the energy flowing in your body with some exercise or activity- even some movement like jumping, doing yoga or our personal favourite, having a family dancing night! Exercise increases our overall health and sense of wellbeing and also has some direct stress busting benefits. Physical activity helps bump up the production of the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.
7- Develop a Coping Strategy- You may be required to do things you haven’t done before or that are not in your comfort zone, especially as we limit our contact with others and increasingly spend more time alone at home. However, if you remain in a prolonged state of stress, you may cause long-term damage to your health and undermine your ability to make rational, informed decisions. Develop a coping strategy that works for you to help you feel more empowered to handle many situations as they come up. sense of normality