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Staying Afloat During Times of Stress

In one way or another we have been touched by the pandemic.  Whether it has been an experience of loss, change, adjustment or finding creativity and new interests, this collective experience has rocked and shifted every aspect of our wellness – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Here are a few ideas to ponder to stay afloat while keeping our stress levels in check.


The WIN Question

Asking ourselves, what’s important now can be a strategic question to bring us back to the present moment.  If we ask ourselves this question through different points in the day, various possibilities are highlighted.  At times we may feel stuck; pondering what’s important now may shed light on priorities, values, perspectives and actions.  We may begin to focus on a priority area and start moving in that direction rather than let the emotional storm consume or overwhelm us.  I invite you to take a moment to pause and reflect, what is important for you now?


Small WINS

Do not discount the small wins.  When we are feeling quite low, identifying one small win can be the very thing needed to begin shifting gears and moving.  Small wins may begin by initiating a smile and receiving one in return; becoming a bit more kind with ourselves, doing an activity of enjoyment or even getting a few more minutes of sleep.  When we feel down, we can easily think the worst or “awful-ize” just about anything.  We may hear our thoughts in our minds or out loud saying, “it’s too difficult, it’s too hard, it will never get better”.  Just because we think it, does not mean it’s true.  Our small wins do count.  I invite you to take a moment and ask yourself what is your small win today?


Give Yourself Permission for Enjoyment

So many times, when we feel negative, everything tends to be more negative.  Negativity impacts our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  When we feel sad, we tend to withdraw and move away from connection.  Even with negativity, we can still choose to give ourselves permission to enjoy things in life.  We have a choice, not to let negativity consume us.  We can choose to put our feelings on the side and still allow ourselves to enjoy things that make us thrive.  When we do put feelings aside, movement becomes more possible.  Even though I feel rough, never the less, I give myself permission to enjoy things.  I invite you to try and see what happens.


Choice Point

So many times, we get so wrapped up in our thoughts, either by over thinking or ruminating.  I’m sure you can recall a time that you replayed something over in your head a million times and felt worse and even lost hours of sleep.  Overthinking typically does not lead to the result we desire.  One thing we can do is to stop and take a moment to ask ourselves if we are hooked into our thoughts and feelings.  When we identify that we are hooked, we move to our choice point.  Our choice point gives us the possibility to choose actions, thoughts, feelings and values that begin to move us towards our goals in life – whether big or small; short term or long term.  If we identify a specific goal and determine what 5% movement may be or one action, it may feel less daunting and more realistic to achieve. Once action begins, motivation follows suit in most cases.  I encourage you to identify one goal that moves you towards a “richer, fuller and more meaningful life.”  Try it for a week or two and see what happens.


Positive Self Reminders & Encouraging Statements

Each person has wonderful skills, talents and offerings.  We can easily point out our mistakes, blame ourselves and be extremely hard on ourselves.  Just because we think of something does not automatically makes it true.  These are the moments when reminding ourselves of our strengths and values can move us in different directions.  We may start to feel a little more hope and optimism.  We may start to view more value, meaning and purpose in our lives.  It is okay to be our own cheerleader.  I encourage you to remind self of the wonderful qualities you have and can offer the world!  Try it once a day, once a week or as needed and be curious of what emerges!

Wishing you sparkles and peace leading you to amazing things in life!

Tiffaney Haydukewich BA, BSW, MSW, RSW

Clinical Counsellor/Registered Social Worker