How to calm stress when the world feels out of control
We are living in a very difficult time, that’s for sure. We’re just out of a pandemic and now there is a war in Ukraine. Additionally, everyone will have their unique stressors around work, family, finances. I would like to share some practical tips to manage stress and feel calmer and more in control.
1. Focus on what you can control, not the things you can’t.
We can control things like what we eat, exercise, our news consumption, the thoughts we choose to have (to an extent!), our daily routine. We can’t control the world outside, politicians’ decisions, other people and what they choose to do. Accepting this and just focusing on what I can influence really helps with mental and emotional wellbeing. If your stress is financial – you can set a budget for yourself, cancel some subscriptions, eat out a bit less. If your stress is due to your job you can take more breaks, up the self-care, book some time off, talk to HR. If you can identify actions to take to help the wider world then do them – eg can you donate/ help out with a charity giving supplies to Ukraine?
2. Have a daily ‘brain dump’
Write out all your worries, fears, thoughts – totally uncensored. They need somewhere to go otherwise they just snowball in your head. You will definitely feel better after getting it all out.
3. Manage your expectations of yourself
We are all trying to process and adjust to what is going on, we’re anxious, overwhelmed and may be experiencing feelings of grief. All of this results in brain fog and a lack of ability to concentrate. Don’t expect to be super productive in this time, set yourself smaller goals –Better to achieve something small than set unrealistic targets and achieve nothing. Above all, have some self-compassion. Think of how you would speak to your best friend who is stressed.
4. Look after your nervous system
When we are stressed or anxious our body goes into fight or flight mode, stress hormones such as cortisol are released in the body, we can feel hyper vigilant and unable to switch off from our worries and we feel it in the body – racing heart, tight chest, shallow breathing, headaches, aching shoulders. We can learn to soothe our nervous system which in turn helps us to have clearer and calmer thoughts. Some proven ways are breathwork, yoga (I personally find Yin is the BEST thing for this!), co-regulation which essentially means being in the presence of someone else – perhaps a friend or therapist who will listen without judgement.
I’m running a Stress Management Masterclass at Nook Studio, Buckhurst Hill on Sunday 10th April from 3.30-5 pm. I’ll be sharing all my tools plus ending the session with relaxing hypnosis to reset the nervous system and calm the mind. Numbers are limited to 8 spaces so please book your ticket ASAP to avoid disappointment.
Hope to see you there!
Kate Hogan is a Psychotherapist & Coach. Her aim is to make therapy accessible and not something ‘luxury’ or ’ self-indulgent’ and she is particularly passionate about helping people who are stuck to empower themselves – whether that means gaining confidence, becoming more assertive, ditching unhealthy habits and relationship patterns or changing to a more fulfilling career. The pressures we face in modern times are unprecedented and off the scale! She aims to give people tools to navigate life and to not only get through it but thrive too. If you’d like to find out how to work with Kate contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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