This page give details on how we can take care of ourselves in stressful times.
The sections below the image give information about:
- The experience of being caught up in stress, and some consequences.
- How we can begin to work through this experience.
- Health behaviours, stress as a potential barrier to these, and how to go forward.
- Some ideas to help with sleep problems.
- Health behaviours information to help us cope with stress from the World Health Organization.
Being kind to ourselves is an important protective factor in stressful times.
1. The experience of being caught up in stress, and some consequences.
In stressful and challenging times, we especially need to take care of ourselves. In the current coronavirus situation we can have a range of unexpected stress responses, potentially aspects in ourselves that we have never experienced before. Sometimes this means we can be caught up inside the stress and be feeling overwhelmed, or knocked off balance. It can be like we are in a fog, and we can’t see clearly. The fog confuses our thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and we can feel very distressed. It can also isolate us from our normal support structures, and we can get lost. If we normally have a lot of control and mastery in our daily lives, when we experience an event like the home confinement period, the fog can be overwhelming, leading to disorientation and strong emotions. We are likely to begin to not sleep very well.
2. How we can begin to work through this experience.
So to begin to work through the fog of stress, we can learn about it. We can review the symptoms of stress and emotional distress which are on the understanding stress page. We can also learn about some of the specific additional stresses in this current situation. We can understand our experiences of strong emotions on the managing emotions page. We can reflect on what we are currently experiencing and see if we are experiencing stress ourselves. We can explore what we are feeling and try and put it into words or writing or art, or whatever meaning making we like, so that we understand exactly what our own stress is and how it expresses itself. We can shine a light on it, and examine it closely. We can acknowledge its impact on us, and how it manifests in our daily lives. By documenting it, we begin to see what the specific detail is, seeing clearly what our stress behaviours are. Each of us are unique and that’s why stress will express itself in each of us differently, even if the broad brush strokes have some similarities.
3. Health behaviours, stress as a potential barrier to these, and how to go forward.
We all probably already know what we could be doing to support ourselves, all of the positive health behaviours. These are: taking care of our physical health and treating pain and/or illness; eating a balanced diet and avoiding excess sugar, fat, and caffeine; avoiding alcohol and drugs, which only exacerbate emotional distress and stress; getting regular and adequate sleep; doing regular exercise; and doing daily activities that build our confidence and competency. But in times of stress, it can sometimes be more difficult to do these healthy behaviours. So we need to be kind to ourselves. We can first focus on our self nurture, comfort and relaxation. One way of doing this is through experiencing sensory self-soothing activities. Use the resources on the coping skills page, which gives a range of self-soothing activities for you to explore. Also use the resources on the well-being activities page.
4. Some ideas to help with sleep problems.
For sleep issues there are some ideas on how to work with this on the sleeping tips page. Also on the coping skills page, there is a sensory den activity to promote your sleep near the bottom of the page. But also during your day practise one of two of the other self soothing activities to help you relax. In the current coronavirus situation, it is really understandable to be experiencing stress and emotional distress, and to feel that you are not coping. Using the resources signposted on this page can ease emotional distress and stress. They can support you in being kind to yourself.
5. Health behaviours to cope with stress
from The World Health Organization.