This is a scary time for the entire world, and as long as I have been alive I don’t remember having the fear of a global threat like this. We are currently in the midst of a pandemic. The tension in the air is thick, the fear and anxiety are palpable. I have to stay calm and collected for my kids whose worlds have been rocked by no longer attending school or daycare. They miss their friends and activities. My husband and I are covering our jobs as best as we can while also staying home in shifts to keep our kids safe during this time. Life. Is. Stressful.

I recently had a discussion with a friend that life is just moving from one pile of poo (I said a different word) to the next. It’s just all in how we deal with it. I admit there have been several times in my life that I did not handle the pile so well. I had given up a few times, I did not want to forge on another minute. Recently however, after a series of very unfortunate events in my life, I came to realize that all I can do is find ways to go through the pain and carry on.

Most times I am better at handling the chaos better than others. But I had to really work on these strategies. Even while writing this post I had a moment where I thought I was going to lose my grips with sanity. But after about half a day I regrouped and re-prioritized my thoughts and got back on path.

Think happy thoughts

Well I know it’s not as easy as that. One of the big things I do is go through a series of self-mantras. I developed this strategy while working with my therapist. It is the way I calm myself down during high anxiety or stress situations. When my thoughts are spinning out of control this is one way I get through the moment.

  • I have persevered, I have overcome-Most of us have gone through many trials and tribulations by the time we are in adulthood. No matter what the severity we have faced things we have had to overcome. I like to remind myself that I have survived plenty of stressful and sad and difficult situations.
  • I can make good decisions-There are plenty of times where I question myself and my abilities to make the right choice for myself or my family.
  • I have what I need to get through this-I have gotten through life with the things that I have had around me. Friends, my own mind, books, writing have all helped me to keep my calm. In times of high stress I just need to remember that I possess what I need, I just need to put these tools to work.
Trying my best to stay calm during the chaos

Finding quiet time

I consider myself an extrovert but in times of anxiety and stress I need to have time for myself. I am okay to have discussions about what is happening, but in short bursts. Of course my quiet time generally comes after the kids are in bed and work is done for the day. However I find I need 20-30 minutes just to focus on something else. Anything else.

Usually I find relaxation in humor so it’s off to Twitter I go. Other times just writing about something unrelated, or watching a comedy on TV. I just need space away from the topic at hand otherwise I feel like I am buckling under the weight of it all. My husband is someone who needs to talk everything out, so sometimes we clash as during those conversations my brain just signals to me that I have had enough. Sometimes its difficult to relay that to him without being rude but I can suddenly feel very overwhelmed.

My strategies include:

  • Finding a quiet spot to clear my mind
  • Engage in something other than what is stressing me at the moment
  • Taking deep breaths to help lower my heart rate
  • Repeating one or a few mantras for one minute
  • Drinking something warm like decaffeinated tea (especially with difficulty sleeping I find this helps before bed)

Being Outdoors

This can be easier said than done, especially here in the midwest depending on season and hour of the day. I find fresh air to be rather therapeutic. This can mean just sitting out on the back steps or taking a short walk. Most of us don’t have the time for anything more extravagant!

We are all struggling at some point, and I feel like in this exact moment so many of us are experience peak anxiety and stress. It’s important to take a moment or two each day to find a moment of peace, as we need to maintain our sanity in these trying times.