Are you having trouble sleeping? Find yourself being hyper-vigilant about your health, obsessively checking the news? You’re not alone! These are all normal reactions to such unusual times. The good news is, while there are some things that are out of your control, you’re not powerless. Below are some helpful tips to help curb your anxiety and restore your daily balance.
1. Manage your thoughts
Put the risk in perspective: consider the actual probability vs the possibility. It’s important to stay aware, but make sure your level of fear does not exceed your actual risk. If you have a particular health concern, speak to a medical professional.
Remind yourself of the emotional cost of “worst-case scenario” thinking. While anxiety may be a natural reaction, a focus on worst-case scenarios will not change the facts and could contribute to exhaustion.
Techniques to use if your thoughts become overwhelming:
Try a thought-stopping technique. Try saying “stop” out loud and visualize a stop sign or brick wall
Use your senses to switch focus. In this exercise, your brain has to switch away to focus on the task. Start by taking a deep, calming breath. Then look around the room.
Identify five things you can see.
- Find four things you can reach out and touch.
- Find three things you can hear.
- Find two things you can smell.
- Find one thing you can taste.
2. Use your mind/body connection to slow things down
Take slow, deep breaths to send calming signals to the brain. Hold your breath 4-5 seconds then slowly release it.
Progressive relaxation to release muscle tension. Start at the top of your body and tense the muscles, then release them. Move down to tense then release as you go down.
Mental visualization to bring calm. Use your imagination to create a calming image or calm setting. These can cue our body to respond to imagined calm as if it were real.
3. Move towards balance
Move your thoughts to the present. Take a deep breath, take a little break, and try to take note of what is constant, unchanged and what is good in our world right now.
Use a reminder mantras. Mantras are phrases, poems or lyrics we repeat to help us reset, e.g. “This too shall pass” or “one day at a time”. Repeat it to help bring a sense of calm.
Take a break and find a reliable distraction. Whether with a movie, game, hobby or binge watching a series you’ve wanted to watch – find time to distract yourself every day.
4. Manage your feelings
Allow and name feelings. Labeling what we feel helps us realize these feelings don’t define us. Changing our language from “I am scared” to “I’m feeling scared” can help us think about the feeling more rationally.
Find your soothers. Notice what brings you a sense of calm and do it. Common activities include meditation, listening to music, journaling, running, being in nature or calling a friend.
Offer support to others. Helping others helps shift our emotional and mental focus.
Have realistic expectations. You cannot control everything. Realize you’re doing the best you can.
5. What you can do right now
Stick to your normal routines. Doing daily tasks make you feel normal by acting normal. You may find it helpful to create more routines to adjust to any new situation.
Limit your exposure to news. It’s important to get the facts, but it may not be helpful for you – or your family – to hear them again and again.
Prioritize self-care. Help keep up your physical reserve and also reduce stress. Get enough sleep, follow a healthy diet, get regular exercise and avoid using alcohol or other substances as a way of coping.
Connect with others. Other people offer different perspectives and it allows you to share your thoughts. Consider regular phone calls, video chats with your family, friends or colleagues.
At Gartner, we recognize that our associates are at their personal and professional best when they are happy and healthy. Learn more about life at Gartner here.