How to manage anxiety and find peace during uncertain times

divorce Mar 19, 2020

We are all hit pretty hard with this Corona Virus pandemic! The kids are out of school, most of us are now working from home. Some of you, outside the UK, are already in lockdown, stuck at home.

We are all juggling the heavy logistics of a single parent with so many additional uncertainties about our health, the health of our loved ones, the impact of this sanitary and economic drama on our career, our finances (our divorce proceedings) and the future in general.

 

If you have been on your own since your divorce, you must feel the weight of dealing with all this on your own even more!

Social distancing / self-isolation / lockdown must be creating a whole new load of anxiety and a deeper sense of loneliness.

 

I understand how you feel as I am now trying to work from home, to keep my kids healthy and entertained, to behave with calm and composure so that they do not get too overwhelmed or scared by this situation. And doing all of this on your own is bloody hard!

 

So here are 5 secrets to manage stress and anxiety during these very difficult and uncertain times:

 

1- ACCEPT WHAT YOU CANNOT CONTROL


This covid-19 situation is totally outside of your control so no need to spend mental energy resisting it or ruminating all the negative impacts it has on your life.

What I mean by that is do not let it be the focus of your life. Of course, it is having a massive impact on the way you live your life today and for the weeks to come but don’t let it be your only topic of conversation, don’t consume too much social media, too many news broadcast. Ruminating the difficulty of the situation, reading everyone’s opinion on line will only generate more anxiety, more fear, more frustration.

Instead, go with it, focus on what you have to do to make today the best day possible for yourself and your kids.

 

2- STAY PRESENT


We are in a unique situation where the only thing we know for sure is that we know nothing. Uncertainties create stress and sustained stress create anxiety. Our brain hates “not knowing” so it goes into the future and projects scenarios of what could potentially happen. And because the brain has a huge negativity bias, it will create catastrophic scenarii that most likely will never happen.

Worrying about the future is not helping in any way here and only making us feel overwhelmed, scared, stressed, anxious.

The antidote here is to stay present because right now, in the present moment, you are OK. When you notice that your mind is worrying about the future, bring yourself back to the present by using all your senses. Take 3 deep breaths, in and out through the nose and observe life unfolding around you, hear sounds, notice colours, maybe smells or your sense of touch, feel your body breathing.

You are now grounding you mind in the physical experience of the present moment and stepping out of the uncertainties of the future

 

3- BREATHE


The breath is an amazing tool that can within 3 minutes slow down your nervous system and allow your mind to feel calmer and your body to relax. There is lots of research demonstrating that when you pay attention to your breath, it unconsciously slows down and activated the vagus nerve that is in charge of regulating your emotions.

During the day, when you feel overwhelmed, worried, scared, stop, put the timer on your phone for 3 minutes, close your eyes with the intention to focus on your breath and breathe. When you notice that your mind has wandered, just kindly redirect your attention to your breath.

 

4- FIND A SILVER LINING


Our focus creates our reality so it is critical that you find something positive to focus on everyday. Maybe staying indoor is an opportunity for you to do things differently, in a way that serves you. 

If you are with your kids, this could be an opportunity to spend quality time together in a different way, maybe play board games, cook together. With my daughters, we have decided to exercise everyday all together following some Amazon prime fitness program (that will be interesting :-) but a good idea considering the amount of chocolate we have already gone though!) and to play pictionnary once a week with the french cousins over facetime.

If you are on your own, practice self-care, reconnect with the people you havent spoken to in a while, facetime your friends and family, have a candle-lit lavender bath in the evening, read a book, learn something new, practice yoga in the morning. You have some time to take care of your wellbeing.

 

5- BE GRATEFUL


The benefits of gratitude - proven by scientific research - are unbelievable. Practicing gratitude increase your happiness, reduces your anxiety, boosts optimism improves sleeping patterns, lowers blood pressure … At the end of every day, as you go to bed, write down in a notebook 5 things you are grateful for. 

You will be amazed at how uplifting it is to focus on the good stuff in your life.

 

If you feel lonely, don’t forget that my private Facebook Group, The Butterfly Paradox, is here for you. This group is a community of like minded women who are all on a journey of healing and growth after divorce and separation. You will find lots of valuable content, inspiration, videos, articles and a fabulous supportive community.

Click here to join.

 

I am sending you all lots of love

Stay safe, nourish yourself everyday

 

With love,

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