Do you feel uncertain these days?
As we live through unprecedented times, it’s hard to imagine what our lives will look like in a month, a year or even five years. COVID-19 has led to uncertainty about our work, our health, our economy and our day-to-day lives. It has affected our relationships, our families, our physical health and our mental health. Things are constantly changing and we’ve had to pivot and adjust to our new reality. Many of us are spending a lot more time at home, working if we can and communicating and living digitally, while not being able to do many things that we used to take for granted. All of this change and stress can lead to worry and anxiety.
Personally, I’m dealing with even more uncertainty as I’m about to bring 2 babies into our lives (check out my blog post about finding out I was expecting twins here). While I have an idea of what this will mean for my little family, it is still scary and a lot of unknowns lie ahead.
So, what can we do when we’re feeling overwhelmed, uncertain and perhaps even scared?
While a lot is not under our control right now, here are some tips that I’ve found useful:
a) Take up to 20 minutes a day where you allow yourself to worry. Write down what’s bothering you, or talk to a friend or your significant other about your worries. Then let them go and move on with your day.
b) Many of our worries pop up or are worse at night and can prevent us from sleeping well. One strategy is to keep a pad of paper on the bedside table. When a nagging thought, item on your to-do list or a worry comes up, write it down to deal with later. Just writing down these worries allows us to release them from our “mental list” and can help us be in the moment and fall asleep.
Make sure that you carve out some time to relax on a daily basis. This can be as simple as closing your eyes and taking 10 deep breaths, meditating, listening to some music or reading.
All of those things that keep us physically well also help keep us mentally healthy. Getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food, moving our bodies and limiting or avoiding certain substances like alcohol are simple yet effective tools.
a) Gratitude has been shown to have a multitude of benefits, including greater happiness and increased positive emotions. It also helps us relish good experiences, improve our health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships (Harvard Health).
b) Try this quick gratitude exercise: take 5 minutes a day to focus on the good in your life – whether it’s the sun being out, your child smiling at you, a bird singing outside, or that first sip of coffee in the morning, these little moments are important to notice and appreciate.
What have you found helpful during this time of uncertainty? Let me know!
I’m Valerie Hertzog, a MD and wellness coach that helps busy stressed out women reclaim control of their health.