By Teresa Bitner, Now What? Facilitator
Originally published in Bold Fulfilled Life Coach blog
Flooding, wildfires, and now COVID-19 – Is the world spinning out of control? If you have some anxiety and worry about the current events that’s 100% normal. You may ask, “What is the world coming to?” or “How will this impact my life?” Let me help you with coping when the world seems scary and out of control. Facts not fear.
First, if you or someone you know has been directly impacted by any of this, I acknowledge you and the impact, no matter now great or small. You are loved.
Second, it’s hard to NOT to be impacted by the news. You’re not alone. Just hearing of these natural disasters can make us feel anxious or fearful. Feeling stressed and or anxious after a stressful and or traumatic experience is common. We’re all impacted.
This distress shows up emotionally, mentally, and in our behaviors. You might not be directly affected, but the shock and news of it has impacted you. First step to coping is to acknowledge this stress.
Maybe you’re fearful, worried, sad, angry, filled with anxiety, hopeless, irritable, or even feeling depressed. I’ve heard comments from my clients like, “I’m concerned about public transportation,” “How will this affect my investments?,” “What about travel?,” “What about my family traveling to ____?,” “I’m just going to ignore this and keep on living,” “I’m afraid of …”
All 100% normal responses and parts of the process of dealing with stress.
Common signs of stress to be aware of in yourself and others
- Difficulty concentrating
- Making mistakes
- Low energy
- Stomach or digestive issues
- Pain – aches, tense muscles
- Sleep issues
- Clenched jaw or teeth grinding
- Changes in appetite
- Mood swings
Things to be mindful of when overloaded with stress
- Racing anxious thoughts
- Negative only thoughts
- Irritability and anger
- Isolation and/or loneliness
- Racing heart
- Loss of drive
- Withdrawing from others and activities
- Neglecting responsibilities or procrastinating
- Using substances to unwind or relax
15 Tips to Reduce and Cope with Stress
- Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings
- Express your feelings in a safe healthy way
- Maintain healthy routines
- Stay connected
- Eating healthy and drinking enough water
- Sleep – get enough for you
- Regular exercise – even a short walk
- Nature – get outside, especially in the sunlight
- Limit or remove news and social media content
- Journal – just write with no expectation or judgement
- Be mindful of how busy you are and how your schedule may increase stress
- Practice Gratitude
- Meditation or Praying
- Play your favorite uplifting music
Bonus Tip – Support – Find Support
Talking to a trusted person, spiritual leader, friend, family, counselor or coach.
Join a group online
- What am I feeling stressed/fearful/anxious about?
- Where do I feel this stress/fear/anxiety in my body?
- I want to feel______.
- What do I have control over?
- What is the opportunity in this stressful situation?
- What are three good things about today?
- I am grateful for ____ .
I hope this has been useful and helpful to you. My intent is that as we move into this new normal of change and chaos in the world that we can cope and thrive.