How to manage stress in uncertain times

If you feel stressed these days, you’re not alone. These are stressful times. There’s so much bad news out there and on top of that, our personal lives can be hectic. There always seems to be a new issue or item popping up on our to-do list in work, family, and relationships. Will the economy tank? Is my relationship secure? Will those I love be safe and healthy?

You can’t always predict or control what happens next, but you can be less stressed about it. Here are some tips for managing stress in our uncertain times.

Focus on What’s in Your Control

Most days, you probably don’t complete your to-do list. Take a breath and recognize that’s okay. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you did accomplish. In fact, you might make a list of all the things that are stressing you out. Strike out the ones you can’t control, and for today focus on just one that you can.

Remind yourself of past successes. You’ve come through difficult times before, and you can do it again.

Be Generous toward Yourself (and Others)

Everyone falls short. They’re late with an assignment or harsh toward a family member, and guilt can build up. Rather than beating yourself up, give yourself a break. To err is human, and we’re all human.

Give others a break as well. An encouraging word in a tense situation is helpful to the one who gives it as well as the one who receives it.

Look for Support

When your stress level is high, don’t bottle it up. Tell someone. It can be like releasing the valve on a pressure cooker. Your friend or family member may or may not offer practical suggestions, but just having them there can ease the burden.

If stress continues to eat you up, consider talking to a mental health counselor. They’ve done good things for people in situations as tough and tougher than yours.

Take Time To Disconnect

There are stressful things that you need to know about, but there’s no need to hear them 24/7. Take time for activities that improve your well-being. They might be as simple as taking a walk, drinking a cup of tea, participating in an exercise class, or listening to some favorite music.

Practice stress management by limiting your exposure to news and social media. The evening is an ideal time to make yourself unavailable to outside stress factors. Pick a time slot to shut off your TV, phone, and devices. Think about the things you’re grateful for. If writing is something you enjoy, consider some journaling during this time.

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