Life is stressful. Yeah, okay, that’s stating (and probably understating) the obvious, but it’s worth talking about the anxiety that this new normal has brought with it. Whether you have anxiety disorder or you’re just generally anxious because of all the changes, it’s worth talking about ways you can cope, beyond the usual advice of “exercise, eat healthy, get sleep.”
I mean, yes. Try to do that too. But we’ve got some mental techniques that might help. Mantras, if you will, could be helpful when coping with the stress of this situation that just seems too tough.
“I made it through something before.”
It can be really easy to get swept up in the powerless feeling that comes along with something this big and out of our control. As an individual, you might not be able to turn the tides of the world or the effects it’s having on daily life, but you do have control over yourself. And human beings are tough. Even if we don’t feel like it.
One way to remind yourself of this power is to remember a time you overcame another obstacle. Whether it’s something big (like unemployment or the death of a loved one) or a smaller challenge (like getting a bad grade or losing something you treasured), visualize not just the problem, but how you got through it. Remember the strength and patience you had in overcoming it.
Then, take another deep breath and let yourself feel comforted by the knowledge that you’ve done hard things before. You can do them again.
“I couldn’t have planned for this.”
If you’re like me, it can be easy to get stressed out over unplanned occurrences. I prefer to plan in advance for things – especially big changes – and as someone who moved to a brand new city right before the pandemic blew up, well, all my plans went out the window. Sure, you might not be trying to make it in an entirely new environment during this upheaval, but chances are, some of your plans have gotten waylaid as well.
This is why it’s important to remind yourself that you couldn’t really have planned for this. Think about it – a few years ago, would this ever have entered into your five-year plan? Absolutely not! You planned for a pandemic-free future, which was perfectly reasonable. If your anxiety is stemming from the feeling that you “could have, should have” done something differently, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s not your fault.
Then, take another deep breath, and let yourself feel comforted by the knowledge that something of this scale changing your plans does not reflect your skill or value as an individual.
“This, too, will pass.”
It can be really hard to visualize the ongoing post-pandemic changes, so it’s worth taking another deep breath in the face of this uncertainty.
Then, take one more deep breath and be comforted by the knowledge that while it’s challenging now, it won’t always be this way.
Anxiety often leaves us trapped in uncertainty and fear. If these phrases don’t work to ease your worries, it’s worth keeping an eye out for something that will. At the very least, we can all benefit from taking a moment of pause when we’re feeling anxious and continue to remind ourselves that although it’s a scary time right now, we’re going to make it through.