Bad behaviour is never OK.
Not in war times, not in peace times, not in COVID-19 times.
At the moment, many families and organisations are a little like a human pressure cooker.
People can be more stressed than they normally are, couples are at home together when they normally have space from each other at their various workplaces, kids are at home rather than at school or childcare.
In the past few weeks, I have seen several examples of people yelling unnecessarily, being verbally abusive and generally not being very useful in their behaviour.
We have much more control over our behaviour than we acknowledge.
While there are some lovely aspects to all being home together, connecting and getting to hang out together a little like on a holiday, the challenges can take over.
The pressures of unclear working arrangements, kids at home, financial stress and concern, or losing businesses are all very real. In the best of times, if one of these things happened we might easily have the emotional resilience needed to deal with it.
But in these times, when many of these pressures accumulate, they start to affect each other and make other things harder to deal with. Cumulative stress has very real physical and psychological effects on us.
The physical effects of stress can include:
- Low energy
- Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation and nausea
- Aches, pains, and tense muscles
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds and infections
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
Some of the psychological effects of stress can include.
- Uncharacteristic irritability or bad temper
- Overeating or undereating
- Lack of motivation
- Drug or alcohol misuse
- Feeling overwhelmed
The incredible thing is that we have a lot of personal control over what we can do in our lives to mitigate the effects of this situation.
If you focus on the following suggestions, you will be headed in the right direction to ensure your physical and emotional wellbeing.
- Daily exercise - do a seven-minute workout in your backyard. It doesn't need to be big, just regular
- Breathing from your belly - belly breathing will bypass anxiety and restlessness
- Follow a routine - make a new at-home routine that you follow. Humans feel comfortable with predictability
- Focus on gratitude and all those things in your life that are truly amazing and that are blessings
- Keep a journal - record how you are feeling and how you want to feel, writing things is very powerful.
- Eat well - not the stockpiles in your pantry, but fresh leafy greens, veges fruit, consume lots of vitamins.
- Sleep well and long - your sleeping habit is the single most important thing underpinning your mental and physical wellbeing. If it has been out of whack for years, change it now.
- If all else fails, get a coach, see a counsellor, psychologist or other therapist. There are some great online programs that therapists are doing in the crisis
Stress is simply nature's and the body's way of telling us something is not OK in our lives. If we invest all our energy in the above practices, there is a high chance we will feel not just OK, but healthy, vibrant and alive.
You can make it to other side of COVID-19 by drawing on your strength and the strength of others.
Everything you do with the time you have while working from home and not being allowed to go out is your choice.
There are choices that will increase stress, anxiety and other symptoms or there are choices that will decrease them.
One of the best resources for dealing with stress (including the latest research) is Kelly McGonigal's TED talk How to Make Stress Your Friend..
One of the things we specialise in is coaching and supporting people to experience less stress. If you need this support, visit beingmorehuman.com.au