By Reem Abdulrahman Jassim al-Muftah
Aren’t we all going through a hard time right now? I am sure many of you out there are currently struggling with an issue or two, especially during these hard times and under these extreme circumstances. People are self-quarantining, people are scared and some people are finding it hard to cope. The thing is, not only are we all trying to deal with the world’s current pandemic, we also have our personal lives that we are trying to maintain. Lots of us have issues at home or at work and these issues may be directly and indirectly increased with the pressure of all that is going on around us. In today’s case, we have to learn to cope with all that is happening around us and find a way to keep ourselves stable and healthy during these hard times.
What are you doing to cope with your current stress and/or anxiety? When it comes to coping, there are different philosophies and schools of thought, but I will be discussing it in generally. Initially, you have to acknowledge and try to clarify your sources of stress and anxiety. For example, many of you might be stressed and anxious thinking about the pandemic and getting sick or maybe stressed out due to your new work requirements, limitations and pressures or simply because of not being able to live your daily routine that you are accustomed to. So what can you do?
There are numerous ways to deal with your emotions and overall mental state and one of the best ways to cope is to combine several of the common coping mechanisms. There is no one right answer or combination, you have to find what works for you. In regards to the example just given, I have personally chosen to cope with these current worries by taking responsibility, relaxation, physical activity and practicing gratefulness. How? I understand that I am responsible for my own health and safety and that I have to be cautious when it comes to being in contact with others. To take it a step further, I acknowledge that I have to behave responsibly and keep myself and others in mind too. To relax, I continuously try to find a few minutes a day to relax my mind by taking a quick power nap and making some time for me away from others. It is hard being self-quarantined in your own home for hours every day, so you need to get away from all the energy surrounding you and make some time for yourself. When it comes to physical activity, I make sure to squeeze in some brief movements every now and then, such as organising clutter and furniture, cooking, cleaning, using the stairs all the time and doing quick home workouts when possible. Lastly, one of my favourite ways to cope with anxiety, stress or even sadness or anger, is practicing gratefulness. I am so thankful that I have been raised to be grateful and to have gratitude for everything, even for the smallest of things. Always remember that others might have it worse and that your situation might not be as bad as others. Being thankful, grateful and showing gratitude is critical for one’s mental well-being and I urge you all to consistently practice this mechanism, even if you are not feeling the heat. We all have to be rational and comprehend that each and every person is dealing with stress and anxiety and in different ways; sometimes people don’t even show or share their worries with others, but that does not mean they are not suffering.
Here are some examples of the most common coping mechanisms:
1. Take responsibility
2. Support network (family and friends) – asking for help
4. Relaxation or meditation
6. Problem solve and making an action plan
8. Physical activity or negative energy release in a healthy way
11. Listen to music
13. Take a hot bath or shower
14. Spend time in nature
15. Practice gratefulness
16. Use a stress ball
Some examples of unhealthy coping mechanisms: denial/avoidance, self-isolation, drug abuse, smoking, overeating, oversleeping, over-complaining, reckless behavior (compulsive) and violence
Always keep in mind that you, me and all of us in the world are trying to cope with the current events that are currently affecting everyone directly and indirectly. We all have to remain positive and support each other to get through this. I wish you all the best of health and I hope you are all staying safe.
*The author is a wellness advocate and influencer @keys2balance.
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