Stress during Lockdown
Despite the plethora of inspiring stories, for many, lockdown felt stressful at times. Juggling school work, working from home, reduced finances, waiting up late for on-line supermarket slots and isolation from friends and family. Even those with a positive mind-set sometimes found themselves near breaking point.
Looking After Kids in Lockdown
Undoubtedly, having extra family time has been a blessing for many. We’ve learnt more about our kids in a short space of time than we’d have imagined. Magical memories have been created too. But it wasn’t all good. There’s been battles about schoolwork and children ‘acting out’ as a response to the uncertainty. And what about the knock-on effect of missing vital months of education? Parents feel utterly frazzled from months of worry and twenty-four seven child-care.
Working from Home in Lockdown
We’ve adapted to less physical interaction and more computer-based time at home. The working day has extended especially for parents. Many now work either end of the day whilst children sleep. Zoom video calls have become the new norm but many of us feel anxious about the new ways of working.
What Can We Do to Handle Stress After Lockdown?
Despite the hardships of lockdown, not everyone feels relieved with the easing of restrictions. No-one could have predicted the emergence of a new phenomenon, anxiety about adjusting to life post-lockdown. This is evidenced by a significant increase in people experiencing generalised anxiety disorder, stress, depression and other related mental health issues.
Look after Yourself
Now, more than ever, our health and well-being are central in combating stress. Make the following a priority:
- Eating well
- Getting enough sleep
- Exercising often
- Practising mindfulness and/or meditation
- Doing something creative
- Limiting alcohol
- Going for walks
- Spending time with family
Aromatherapy has been used for centuries as a holistic treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. Millions of people around the world use essential oils and report powerful benefits including:
- Reduced anxiety or stress
- Better relaxation and sleep
- Calmer nerves
- More energy
- Balanced moods
The Scentered De-stress range is a soothing blend, ideal for helping you to juggle throughout the day and keep calm and in control. The ethos behind Scentered products is to use them as part of a well-being ritual. Using the balms can help to create mental triggers to shift from one mindset to another.
Try to use them mindfully as part of your well-being ritual/s, whether that be early morning meditation, a coffee break, a pause after lunchtime, wind-down after work or the bedtime ritual.
Today’s environment is fast-paced and full of noise and stimuli like phones, social media and television. It makes us live faster, think faster, drive faster, eat faster, and act faster. Unfortunately, this increases our stress levels.
Slow living is a lifestyle approach that suggests slowing down everyday life for a longer and better-quality life. Slow living makes us healthier, there’s less stress, a better quality of relationships and increased well-being. How to live more slowly:
- Don’t do things you don’t want to do and cannot do.
- Do one thing at a time.
- Choose less noise. Turn off the tv. Turn off notifications. Mute Facebook.
- Go off-line. Use the limit controls on your telephone to turn off apps and the internet at certain times of the day.
- Choose lighter and slower ringtones, alarms and music.
- Make simple observations and enjoy the details. The joy of watching a child’s face as they splash in a muddy puddle cannot be replicated.
Paying more attention to the present moment, to your own thoughts and feelings and the world around you improves mental well-being. Awareness of this kind enables us to notice signs of stress and anxiety earlier and helps us deal with them better. This awareness is called mindfulness. There are thousands of mindfulness classes around the country, apps and YouTube videos that you can choose from to get started with formal mindfulness practises.
There are also some things that you can do straightaway:
- Focus on positives and moments of joy (e.g. a takeaway coffee)
- Try something new (e.g. a different chair at lunch?)
- Notice sensations (e.g. food we eat)
It’s so important to talk to people you trust and to utilise the help that’s out there. There are many community initiatives as people come together to support one another. Don’t suffer in isolation.
Arm yourself with trustworthy information. Limit your time on social media or watching the news. These can often focus your mind on disaster scenarios.
It takes time to build up tolerance to fears again. Some worry that they won’t know how to do their job or talk to other people after a period of isolation. We can also experience sensory overload. Take things at your own pace.
Finally, life without structure can add to uncertainty and stress, so plan ahead and create a new routine as soon as possible.