Recent events have turned much of what we thought of as ‘normal life’ on its head. And for many people, this has created an extra level of stress.
Whether you’re working from home and worried about trying to home school your kids, or wondering about the future of your job or business, there are a few things you can do to relieve stress and anxiety.
1. Keep your focus small
When you start feeling stressed out, it can be easy for that feeling to snowball and become overwhelming. If you’re stuck in that type of stress where you have so much to worry about that you can’t do anything, break it down into small chunks.
What can you do this hour, or this day, that will help? Being able to tick something small off your list is likely to make you feel much more in control than constantly chipping away at something you never quite accomplish.
2. Ask for help
It can be easier to get on top of stress if you have an idea of where you’re headed and what you need to do. Not sure where to start? Don’t be afraid to put your hand up and ask for help.
If you’re worried about money – including your insurance, your mortgage, or your KiwiSaver savings – talk to us about the options available to you. If you need help with your business, you could check out what the Government has on offer, or seek mentoring and guidance through something such as the Regional Business Partner Network.
Asking for help doesn’t need to just be financial – there are options to get funded counselling if you need some expert help to navigate this odd new world. You can also access parenting advice and assistance if you’re worried about how your family is coping.
3. Write it down
Writing about how you’re feeling and what you’re going through can be a big stress reliever. You don’t have to have a formal journal – maybe pen a letter to a friend. Not only will writing help combat stress, but it’s said to help with memory improvement.
Whether you’re a member of a gym or work out at home, any kind of movement can help combat stress. Even a walk in a nearby park can be invigorating and even boost your immune system thanks to fresh air and sunshine.
Whatever you choose to do, a good work-out can give you an endorphin hit, a powerful natural painkiller that can also improve the quality of your sleep. If you’re having to focus hard on what you’re doing, all the better – that enforced “being in the moment” will give you a break from your day-to-day worries.
5. Use an app
Turn to your phone for a bit of stress relief. There are a number of applications available now that will take you through guided relaxation exercises and meditation. If you’re looking for NZ-made apps, check out the Mental Health Foundation’s website for self-help tools and apps to support New Zealanders look after their mental health and wellbeing, including Mentemia which was launched during the Covid-19 pandemic to help New Zealand citizens and businesses with their mental wellbeing. And they’re free.
6. Talk about it
If your employment situation has changed, or you’re now working from home, you may feel that some of your social networks have disappeared. It’s really helpful to have people to listen when you’re going through something stressful, so make an effort to reach out to friends and family. According to experts, just the process of explaining what you’re worried about to others might give you a new perspective.
7. Keep up with hobbies
If money is tight, it’s sometimes tempting to focus all your energy on things that bring in income, and let everything else lapse. Hobbies are really important as a way to relieve stress, though. If you can, let go of any idea that every spare minute needs to be occupied with a “side hustle” and enjoy hobbies for the sake of it. If you don’t already have a pastime you love, consider taking one up: psychologists say the benefits can spill over many aspects of your life.
8. Don’t neglect your ‘rituals’
When the world is changing rapidly, it’s easy to lose some of the things you previously took for granted. If a coffee in the morning on your way to work was your way to centre yourself and feel equipped for the day, then why give it up? Carve out time for the things that make your day yours – that cup of tea from your special cup, a massage or a spa under the stars with your partner.
We often take lots of short, shallow breaths when we are stressed. Just a few minutes of proper deep breathing every day will dramatically change your anxiety levels. If you’re not sure how to do this, there are apps and websites to guide you through it.
Get in touch
Remember: knowing that your finances are taken care of can give you extra peace of mind. Have any questions for us? Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.