How to cope with stress as COVID restrictions ease

HUMAN BEINGS ARE CREATURES OF HABIT AND MAJOR CHANGES IN OUR LIVES CAN TRIGGER STRESS. OVER THE PAST YEAR, MOST OF US HAVE SEEN THEIR LIVES TURNED UPSIDE DOWN, WITH ONE CONSTANT HOWEVER: REDUCED SOCIAL INTERACTION AND LESS TIME FOR LEISURE.  Some of us welcomed the relaxation of COVID rules with open arms; others experienced insecurity and anxiety.

During lockdown, some people took advantage of the extra time to take better care of themselves. They slowed down their pace and it felt good… It is therefore perfectly normal that some people feel overwhelmed when social life resumes and that big changes may happen again. Below are five tips for avoiding stress during times of change.

restriction-ease

#1 Acceptance

If you notice that you are anxious in social situations, it is important not to blame yourself. Do not force yourself to engage into an intense social life right away if you do not feel like it. The first step to avoiding stress in this situation is acceptance. Be as understanding with yourself as you would be with a close friend or a loved one. Pay attention to your inner dialogue and choose kind words. It is perfectly normal to move at your own pace.

#2 Increase your activities gradually

Give yourself enough time. Slowly get used to social interactions again. Start with the relationships that are most valuable to you and the people you feel most comfortable with. Gradually you will notice that you are able to feel comfortable in social situations. If you notice that you need a break again, or that some people are draining your energy, take a break

#3 Learn from your experiences

If you notice that you need more time and that it is not good for you to rush from one activity to another, accept this and listen to yourself. Do not let social norms or pressure make you do something that is no longer good for you.

#4 Maintain your new positive habits

When coming out of lockdown, we run the risk of quickly getting lost in the flow of activities again. The old daily routine, in which self-care had little place, can easily take over again. You can avoid this by living more consciously. Remember the positive habits you acquired during lockdown and maintain them. Take a break from time to time and ask yourself if you are already being carried away by daily stress and old negative patterns of behaviour.

take a deep breath

#5 Take a deep breath

When you are out and about and feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Focus on your breathing. How does this help? Deep breathing calms the nervous system and by concentrating on your breathing, you release it from any discomfort. In social situations, always try to remain in contact with yourself and your emotions, and then direct your attention from inwards to outwards. Concentrate on your feelings, stay in the present moment and you will notice that your (negative) thoughts will start to subside.

If you find it difficult to resume social life or feel uncomfortable in interactions as the COVID restrictions ease, do not hesitate to contact our coaches.

written by Daniel Sigrist

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