Managing Stress (& getting through Lockdowns in Covid)

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise

Victor Hugo
In this quote, we are reminded that ‘this too shall pass’. We have come through lockdown before and we will get through this one. Rather than resisting and expecting everything to be stressful or bad, it can help to lean into the difficulty. Trust that you can cope, acknowledge when you are struggling, prepare the resources you need to get through. What have you learned from the first lockdown? What will you do differently? What helped you the last time? Reflecting on these questions will help you identify the resources you have and need to help you this time around.
The strongest steel is forged from the hottest fire – the more heat it faces, the stronger it gets. The same can be true of us too, we grow resilience when we dig deep and lean into our inner strengths. When times are easy we are not required to grow, so we don’t actually get to develop the strength of resilience. We are all going through adversity right now, but if we support each other we can come out the other side stronger. If you are struggling, know that you are not alone, reach out, ask for help. Even when you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, it helps to trust that it is there and that with some time you will come to see it again.

The three core competencies of managing stress are:

1. Flexibility

The ability to flex and adapt is crucial in these times of rapid change, go with the flow, adjust to suit the new landscape.

2. Stress Tolerance

Your ability to tolerate higher levels of stress can be helped by balancing out the stresses with other things going on in your life. Having clear ‘off’ times away from work, using weekends and holidays for rest and relaxation, exercising regularly, keeping up other outside interests and hobbies – all help to build your capacity for stress. And lastly…

3. Optimism

Research has shown us time and time again that Optimists live longer, happier, healthier lives. By working on a more positive attitude, holding onto hope, and trusting that the sun will shine again, we can get through adversity and come out the other side stronger than before.

By focusing on these 3 key areas we can grow our capacity to cope with stress and adversity, improve our wellbeing and feel better about our life even in the midst of a pandemic. Which one will you choose to focus on over the next few weeks? Pick one and identify one action you can take, which will make the biggest difference for you. Let me know how you get on!