The recent Covid-19 Pandemic has spiraled our lives towards an uncertain near future. This has given rise to unimaginable changes in our day-to-day activities. The only thing which has remained constant is the stress we live with. The degree might vary but it still exists and has multiplied even further during the lockdown and work from home phases.
This led me to contemplate about the different strategies that different people use to beat the stress in their lives during this Pandemic. The digital world is filled with self-help blogs and so to remain more authentic I did a small survey with family and friends. The results were quite surprising. There were various ways from widely used techniques of listening to music to watching favorite shows to extremely different ones like watching balloons drop when thrown in the air.
I have listed down a few things which were interesting and can be done to not stress the small stuff. in our everyday lives during this pandemic.
1. Block lists for short timelines
Occasionally, you get overwhelmed in the chaos of life and the to do lists. It is a good idea to plan your work and activities ahead but in short time spans which can help you to achieve your goals more easily. Instead of planning for the whole month ahead, plan for the week ahead. It will help to bring your stress down and keep the goals realistic.
2. Home Edit
Just like the popular show on Netflix, start cleaning and rearranging parts of your house. It is highly therapeutic to take out things, put them in containers/ bins neatly and then arrange accordingly as it is highly satisfying to see neatly lined shelves and cupboards. It also helps us to sift through unwanted things and sort them into ‘donation’ and ‘give away’ piles thus helping us edge towards charitable work while dissolving any accumulated stress.
Pick up your phone and search for people who you wanted to be in touch with but just did
not have time. Maybe, this is an opportunity for you to reach out and connect with old pals,
colleagues, relatives, and some long-lost friends. Sometimes sharing pockets of your life with people who once you shared a good equation with helps to diminish stress of our everyday lives. Who knows, you might rekindle the same bond you shared again and gain a friend in return.
4. Visit your garden
Some of us have a lush backyard at home and some of us have a few potted plants in our
apartment balconies. Make it a habit to visit it once a day. Water the garden or dig the soil
and plant a few more new species of seeds. Learn new ways of growing plants like
aquaponics or hydroponics. The starter kits are readily available on any of the online
shopping platforms. It is a proven fact that gardening helps you to refocus and put into
perspective all your day-to-day tasks as well as reduce stress inducing cortisol levels.
5. Take a stroll
People advocate exercise to reduce stress. Scientifically it helps reduce stress by increasing
the happy hormone ‘endorphin’. Does exercise mean hitting the gym, running 5 miles,
swimming 40 laps? No, exercise can even be a stroll through your neighborhood or even
dance on your playlist around your house. Anything that helps you get up and move will help you to release that happy hormone. If you have a garden or trees nearby do insist on taking that stroll there as it can calm the nerves.
6. Plan that Vacay!
We all hope that the Pandemic will not last forever. With that positive thought in mind
gather the family and start planning that dream vacation. Assign each member of your
family a job like browsing for great destinations, ticket prices, hotel bookings, planning what activities to take including leisure activities for the whole family. The positivity it brings around to focus on fun times ahead helps to diminish stress and gives us something to look forward to. Also, when the pandemic is over, you will be ready with a plan to a faraway dream holiday.
7. Explore Voluntary Gratitude
Sometimes helping others brings a sense of peace and gratitude. During the Pandemic it has been almost impossible to venture out and help in communities. Some people have started looking for ways to navigate stress for people in the neighborhood or in an organization. Group zoom calls act as help lines and people drop in to talk out their troubles. When you volunteer to do that you realize that by solving problems for others yours has diminished in proportion and it leads to a sense of eternal gratitude.
8. Focus on Incremental Improvement
Find small ways to improve yourself. Invest in a new hobby, learn a new skill, fire up your
hidden chef or just spend more time with your family. In doing so, you shift focus from the
obstacles of life to the wonders of it. It will help you to discover yourself again and give you
that incremental push towards looking at life holistically.
9. The Chimpanzee Cuddle
According to a study done by BBC, Chimpanzees cuddle their young ones and other primates for a feeling of comfort. What is stopping you! Go ahead and give that long hug to your parents, spouse, partner and your children and pets in your home. It will generate a sense of comfort and security which we seek in times of distress. Do not let self-induced doubts stop you. Hug it out and feel the difference.
10. Know that all is not over
Life is changing always like the seasons and with change comes hope. Try to focus on the
little happy moments that you observe around you and fill your memory with them. These
are the little joys which will help you tide over this stressful phase in life. Believe that this
too shall pass, and a new day will begin soon with a better, happier version of yourself.
Contributed by Shilpa Karve