During these challenging times it is common to experience feelings of rising stress and panic. Nikki Swan, transitional coach, shares with us her top 5 tips to stay calm.
Banish your phone from the bedroom
If you allow your phone into your bedroom , it might be the last thing you look at before you go to sleep and the temptation is HIGH to pick it up first thing in the morning. Especially if it also functions as your alarm . This can mean heightened states of stress and anxiety at both ends of your slumber , induced by messages, e-mails and newsfeeds.
You need quality sleep to support your immune system and we could all do with feeling less anxious about the world around us.
So if you have to, invest in a good old fashioned alarm clock and try to give yourself at least 5 minutes of your own time in the morning before you dive into the world outside.
Make gratitude a habit
Neuroscience shows us that it’s possible to rewire our brains. By making gratitude a habit, we train our brain to look for the postive in things and appreciate the small things. It also leads to increased levels of happiness.
What are you grateful for? How ever small – in fact, the smaller the better. Some ideas – the cup of tea someone made you, a conversation with the person on the check-out, your health, the fact you have food to eat. While you’re washing your hands, why not think of three things you have gratitude for.
Practice media mindfulness
Consider the media you’re consuming be that TV, social media, radio or on the internet. This applies at all times but especially in the wake of Covid-19.
Be informed of the facts, but if a morning/afternoon/evening or day(!) of following the latest updates makes you feel anxious, scared or worse then choose to do something else. You can’t control the world outside you, but you can control what you consume.
Notice your senses
If current circumstances become overwhelming or you feel anxious about other challenges in life, focus on your senses.
What do you see, what can you hear, what can you taste , touch or smell? This could be as simple as savouring the taste and temperature of your cup of tea, the sensation of warm water from the shower as it touches your skin or feeling your feet in connection with the ground.
All of these practices bring you into the present moment so you aren’t ruminating over the past or worrying about the future.
Journal your thoughts
During these challenging times, you might find it useful to do a bit of reflection.
Whether you’re unsure of a decision you need to make, a career move/change or feelings of anxiety, it can help to get these down on paper.
Why? For one thing it can feel cathartic and for another, it enables you to detach from thoughts in your head and look at them objectively – asking yourself, “is this a fact?” Or “is this true?”. This can help us to realise where we’re making assumptions and effectively making up stories inside our heads.