Feeling stressed? The past twelve months have been exceptionally difficult for most people and have caused stress in a way that none of us could have ever expected. Who would have thought that in the 21st century we would be battling a global pandemic that pretty much brought the world to a grinding halt for the best part of a year?
With working from home, homeschooling, furlough, cancelled health care appointments, vaccine wait lists, and of course, not being able to see our friends and families in the way that we are used to, you would be forgiven if you have found that your feeling stressed, and these levels are a little higher than usual.
Here, we look at some practical tips that you can put into place for dealing with feeling stressed in 2021.
Make sure that you are getting enough sleep
For many people, a decent sleep routine is one of the first things to go out of the window when they are feeling under stress. However, not getting enough sleep can exacerbate stress levels, making it a vicious cycle to get out of.
Do your research into how to improve your night sleep, but essentially, sticking to a good routine is key. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, whatever your plans are. Avoid screens for as long as possible before bedtime, but at least an hour, and minimise your caffeine intake.
Keep a stress journal
One of the best ways to managing your stress levels is to get to the very root of what is causing you to feel this way. While we might blame the pandemic as a whole for our current stress levels, try to get to the bottom of exactly why it is you are feeling this way. Is it because working from home means you never get to quite shut off from your job? Is it because you are constantly on edge waiting for that phone call from school to say your child’s ‘bubble’ has closed for two weeks? Is it because you are furloughed from work and starting to worry about your job?
Try to jot down the moments when you are feeling stressed and what thoughts or actions have caused this and build up the bigger picture. When you know the root cause of it, it is easier to find a solution.
‘No’ is a complete sentence
Many of us have gone above and beyond during the pandemic. That might have been taking on extra work responsibilities, doing a neighbours shopping, or being someone’s (socially distanced or virtual) shoulder to cry on. While this community spirit and kindness has helped us to get through the pandemic, you also can say ‘no’ if it is one task too many, or if you need to metaphorically refill your own cup. We have a fear of saying ‘no’ and often feel like we need to justify our response, but remember, ‘no’ is a complete sentence – you do not always have to justify it.
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