To say we live in interesting times is an understatement. The world has become increasingly stressful over the last year and a half and there are many prominent scholars and scientists who think we have entered a dark era that will be unfavourably reviewed from those in the future.
We all, of course, have our personal stresses that we handle in our own unique way but for the last year and a half we can add global stress to that. And do not underestimate the effect that this has had on us all.
Our lifestyles have changed immeasurably
Our lives are different now and while we were all referring to the “new normal” in 2020 and presuming the “old normal” would be back very soon, I think most people now think that things will never quite be the same again. And what the future will look like remains unclear. The signs however, are less than favourable.
And what of the present? Besides the multitude of grief and loss for so many, we have all been subjected to relentless fear mongering and news overload. Many people now live in a continual state of anxiety about the world, about getting ill or just being around other people.
Add to this the dramatic changes to the global weather, with fires and floods raging across the planet and the disturbing images of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. And more, so much more.
You’re probably feeling stressed just reading this
I’m sorry if that’s the case but that’s what this article is about. How to step away from the relentless worries and stresses that have been thrown at us morning, noon and night for the last eighteen months.
Personally I like to keep on top of world events and avidly watch the news, reading and researching continually. Sometimes I’m reading up to fifteen Covid related articles a day. And the truth is this has not been good for my health.
Global stress is different to personal stress
For me it hits me suddenly and I feel drained. Many people, like myself, are going through bouts of real fatigue. Sometimes when I go to bed I feel like my brain is on fire. There’s so much information to process and it’s information that is, for the most part, deeply upsetting.
It’s important to have strategies in place to keep ourselves sane
These are mine:
1. Stay away from the news and your smart phone
This is a tough one for me but it really works. The news fills me with despair and rage. These are debilitating emotions. When it’s all getting too much I stop for a day or two or however long I need to recalibrate myself. I’ll only use my phone for contacting friends and colleagues and doing my Ageless social media. I stop scrolling and definitely stop looking at any articles.
This works more potently than anything else for global stress I find.
I go on about exercise a lot but the fact remains it’s a wonderful de-stresser. As well as being great for overall health, it helps release tension and gives a surge of endorphins to make you feel better. Do anything at all, just get moving.
Yoga is the absolute queen of exercise for helping with stress. If you’ve never tried it give it a go. There are loads of classes on the internet or you could try out my yoga DVD which is for beginners (and all levels) and is very gentle with loads of other health and beauty tips.
3. Being in nature
Nature is calming and the trees and plants release microbes that boost our immune systems. This is great combined with exercise. A walk in the park will make a world of difference. However there’s also a lot to be said for just sitting on a bench or on the ground and watching the birds and the bees.
Even a few minutes a day of sitting with your eyes closed and allowing your thoughts to go by without diving into them, will calm your system. If you are not used to meditating I highly recommend downloading an app like Headspace. It makes it so easy. You can set it to however long you want, starting with just 3 minutes. Meditation is a discipline and you will benefit the most if you do it regularly. You will be amazed at how quickly you will see the benefits.
Deep breathing is another power tool that literally calms your nervous system down. I use a special breathing technique that is extremely effective for stress and anxiety. You will find it on my YouTube channel.
5. Having fun
Do you have a hobby? Go ahead and indulge yourself guilt free in the knowledge that this will do you the world of good. Or set some time aside to play with your pet. Gigi ( my maltipoo pup ) is great for this. She likes nothing better than a little play. She’s so engaging and endearing that I sit there with a huge smile on my face. Or phone a friend, meet someone for a coffee, read a book. Anything that you enjoy is going to be beneficial. It’s amazing how we often don’t allow ourselves these enjoyable breaks in our busy day. Even if you just give yourself 15 minutes it will do you good.
You may already be doing some of these and if not, I hope it will spur you on to take great care of yourself. It’s very important right now, in my opinion, to be aware off how we’re processing all that’s being thrown at us on a daily basis. It may be affecting you more than you realise.