How to get through challenging times
How has 2020 been for you?
For most of us, it’s been a bit of a challenge to say the least and that’s led to a rise in common mental health problems such as anxiety, stress and depression.
That’s no surprise. Our brains are hard-wired to fear change and uncertainty. When we’re going through challenging times, our fight/flight response is activated and our brains respond by creating:
• Anxiety - so that we can run away from a threat
• Depression - so we can hide from a threat, or
• Anger - so we can fight back.
These responses work great for short-term, immediate threats, but not longer-term pandemics!
What can we do to make sure we get through challenging times without damaging our mental health?
1) Focus on the Positives
Many people have enjoyed extra time with families this year, or the slower pace of life. If nothing else, going through tough times makes you more resilient! Writing down what we’re grateful for each day reduces that fight/flight response.
2) Take Action
It’s easy to feel that we have no control over life’s events, but we do. If you’re missing friends, send a card or flowers. If you’re worried about getting ill, improve your health. If you’re worried about your job, re-write your C.V. Taking small steps forward will calm your anxiety.
3) Recognise the Signs
Your body will tell you when you’re starting to struggle, and ignoring the signs always makes itworse. Maybe you get migraines, struggle to sleep or snap at others. Whatever it is, once you notice it,
taking time out to get yourself back on track will stop it getting worse.
4) Look after Yourself
This means saying no sometimes, putting your needs first and asking for help. Give your body and mind what it needs. Don’t be surprised if you need more sleep or rest when times are tough. Know also that anxiety is a normal response, and you can take back control if you look after yourself. Any kind of movement releases endorphins and a walk in nature has double the benefit so try and get outside during the day.
5) Give your brain extra time to process
Increasing your sleep gives your brain chance to process your stresses; as do activities such asmeditation, deep breathing, mindfulness and guided hypnosis. They lower stress and increase your ability to cope. You can listen to guided relaxation sessions for free on my YouTube Channel Step Ahead Hypnotherapy.
Writing down your concerns can help you to process them. It also means you can shut the book on them and go and do something you enjoy.
7) Have fun
We need some form of release so watch things that make you laugh, plan a zoom quiz or any activity that makes you happy.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021!
For more advice contact:
BSc, CNCH, AfSFH, NCH, NLP
Solution Focused Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist