It seems everyone feels the anxiety of not knowing the future these days. When will school start again? What about the sports? Will I be able to pay this bill? What about my aged parents? When will that stimulus check arrive? So many unknowns.
So we tune into the news each day. We talk with our neighbors (at appropriate social distance). We scroll through social media to see how others are handling it. We wear masks and sterilize mail and groceries.
The world has turned upside down. Extroverts are living in an introverted world now and feeling the stress. Before the virus, introverts were forced to live in an extroverted world and felt the stress.
We live in a Bizarro world!
So how do we manage the stress and anxiety in a strange world filled with so many uncertainties???
Here are a few suggestions:
- Create structure by creating a schedule. Structure provides a sense of peace for many people. Some may need an hourly schedule that produces a highly structured day. Others may just need a loose schedule such as accomplishing a few tasks in the morning and certain tasks in the afternoon. A schedule can provide a sense of control, security, and purpose.
- Include recreation in your routine. Play games with others online or in person if possible. Use an app like HouseParty. Take chip shots or putt with some golf balls. Shoot basketball.
- Include exercise in your routine. Take a walk. Do certain exercises when certain word are used while watching your favorite TV show.
- Include nature in your routine, if possible. Schedule time to walk around your home. Sit outside to drink your coffee in the morning.
- Include creative work in your schedule, such as art, music, journaling, and the like. Spend time learning to paint, draw, write, or play an instrument if you’ve never learned before.
- If you have been furloughed or lost your job, prepare yourself to be more marketable when the time comes to seek employment again. Take a course online. Polish your resume. Practice interview skills. Set goals. Perhaps take the opportunity to pursue a new career.
- Explore your personality traits to gain more understanding and self awareness. Use personality sorters like Birkman, Keirsey, Myers Briggs, and/or Enneagram. Discover what is at the core of your fulfillment. Prepare yourself to explore potential jobs and activities in that area.
- Pace and balance yourself on news, social media, and conversations. Watch thirty minutes of news from one side of the political spectrum. Follow it with thirty minutes from the other side of the spectrum. BALANCE IS KEY to not becoming stressed by the negativity and fear that promoted in news and media. I’ve found Skimm to be a non-partisan perspective of current events. If you’d like to sign up, here is a link: https://www.theskimm.com/?r=21c9051c
- Set boundaries. Set time limits for Netflix, video games, and social media. Reward yourself when you accomplish goals by giving yourself time. They are good ways to entertain and reward yourself for accomplishing goals. Of course, they are good for entertainment, as well. Protect yourself in conversation so you are not overwhelmed with negative and fearful talk. Set limits on food and drink.
- Create purpose and meaning. Create a mission statement for your life. Build your daily routine around its purpose and meaning. There are many resources available online to help you create one. My favorite is Without Regret, by Dr. Michael Godfrey. Here is a link https://discoveryourtruecourse.com/without-regret/
- Use telehealth options to help manage anxiety. Most therapists and counselors now have telehealth options so you can work through your anxiety and stress with a professional. Schedule something weekly if possible. If you can’t afford therapy there are free processing groups available all over the world. If you need help finding some, let me know.
Keep reminding yourself, there will be an end to the current Bizarro world we live in. It may not seem like it right now, but there will be. You will make it. Be safe.