Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

Managing stress in uncertain times

Being thrown together into one space at home for the duration of a lockdown is surely a test of our resilience. Managing your own schedule or work, while home-schooling alongside others also working from home… all without an end in sight. It is certainly a challenging time for many of us!

The situations that we’re weathering at the moment are almost certainly going to put pressure on you and your relationships. So how can you remain calm and in control when all around you is uncertain?

Let me share with you 5 simple tips that will help you to better manage your stress levels in this uncertain time.

  1. Redefine your boundaries

Often when there’s a sudden shift to our routine, our boundaries go out the window. Because we’ve shifted to working from home with our family around us, this has no doubt impacted your schedule and boundaries. But boundaries are important and you need to redefine them as soon as possible. You can start with defining when you will finish work (the boundary between work and play) and when will you have time to yourself (the boundary between giving to others and giving to self). Become clear about these boundaries and communicate them to others around you.

  1. Focus on the present moment

I know, it sounds cliched but all I’m asking you to do here is become absorbed in what you’re doing right now. Can you just write an email while just thinking about the email? Just fold washing and not think ahead of the next chore? The more you practice, the better you can become at this. Being in the present moment reduces stress as you’re not anxiously thinking ahead worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Try it out with small things you do throughout your day.

  1. Become aware of unhelpful thoughts and unhelpful questions

In uncertain times we can all start to have unhelpful thoughts and questions swimming around in our minds. When will this all end? I can’t deal with this anymore. This is not fair.

It’s natural to feel anxious and frustrated in uncertain times, but you need to be mindful that you don’t let it take over. Simply noticing when you’re having an unhelpful thought or question is a good start. If you notice the thought or question, then you can practice letting it go or distracting yourself so you don’t fall into a negative thinking spiral. No judgement here, just notice the unhelpful thought and move on.

  1. Use the three Ds

What can you delegate, delay or delete? This is a great question to ask right now and you may want to ask it also of your loved ones too. Using the three Ds will help you to better manage your responsibilities so that they match your new priorities in this unique situation. Some tasks can be delayed to ease the load and some have become irrelevant (delete those). Of course, don’t forget delegation! You don’t have to do it all!

  1. Self care, self care…

I can’t emphasise enough the importance of self care in uncertain times. Now’s the time to re-engage with this practice if you’re out of the normal routine. Self care is about engaging in practices that restore your energy. As you can imagine, restoring energy is unique for everyone. It’s important that you find out for yourself what works best for you. Examples of self care practice include: reading an escape book, doing exercise, meditating, taking a hot bath, being in nature, engaging in a creative hobby etc. If you’re not sure what is best for you, try a few practices and see how you feel after them.

Clare Harris is a Certified Life Coach with over 20 years experience in managing SMEs. Clare delivers Personal Coaching to busy professionals and business owners throughout Sydney. Her Personal Coaching provides a neutral sounding board to your ideas and challenges, as well as professional and caring support on your unique journey.