Let’s face it: 2020 has been one hell of a year. This year has not been an easy one for anyone by any stretch of the imagination. And, we still have some time left before 2020 passes the baton over to 2021. I’ve shared previously how uncertain this year has been and how exhausting not knowing is. I’ve shared how challenging it is to remain optimistic when everything and everyone is shifting around you. What do you do in uncertain times? What do you do when you just don’t know what to do? What do you do when job security isn’t so secure anymore, loved ones are transitioning at increasing and alarming rates, and the world as we know it has literally come crumbling down – socially, financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally? What do we do when everything we know is no longer? This has been the experience for so many people and it will be this way for a while. Welcome to the new normal. And yet, even with the dark clouds and distant silver linings, there is a silver lining in all of it. That we can believe in. That we can rest in. Stay with me for a bit as I offer some insights and 5 tips for managing stress and anxiety.
I’ve often heard it said that when one is experiencing depression, they’re lamenting and holding on to the past. When someone is experiencing anxiety, they’re living in the future. Both scenarios keep us from the gold found in the present moment; the place upon which we stand now. 2020 has rocked us all in ways we couldn’t have possibly imagined. It’s uprooted our plans and has given us a wake-up call in its place. With so much uncertainty, it’s easy to get caught up in the “what if” game, which if not carefully observed, will have us tossing back and forth in a mental spiral of worry, stress, strain, and more. To add to that, we’re entering what is one of the most stressful times of the year for many people – holiday season. If there’s ever a time to pull out and practice all of your self-care and grounding rituals, now is it. Below, I share a few tips that I hope will help you come back to the gift of now, no matter what’s begging for your attention in the offing.
5 Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety
1. Be OK with not being OK
When stress and anxiety greet us, it’s second-nature sometimes to bypass and affirm our way through the feelings and experiences. But how helpful is this? Is doing so creating lasting shifts in your life or serve more as a temporary fix, only to resurface later? When you’re not feeling your best, it’s OK to acknowledge that this is your current reality. It’s OK to be with what you’re feeling and feel it all. This doesn’t mean you are to be consumed by it, no. It does mean, however, that you can learn from it. Every emotion and experience has something to teach us – whether good, bad, or indifferent. When you’re feeling anxious and stressed, inquire into what these experiences are telling you. What can you learn and what’s there for you to re-align?
2. Pace yourself and ASK for assistance (help)
Remember, one of the causes of anxiety is looking into and attempting to figure out the future. Although it’s normal to want to plan, your planning shouldn’t come at the expense of your present peace of mind and happiness. A great practice to incorporate to help circumvent and manage stress and anxiety is to be realistic in how much you take on at any given time. Say “yes” only to those things, experiences, and people that are a “hell, yes!” If you’re feeling unsure and a bit lackluster about something, take that as a cue to pause and reconsider. What’s being asked of you may not be what’s best for you. It’s OK to say no or simply come back to something at a later time. In those moments when certain responsibilities and tasks can’t be avoided, ask for help and, if needed, an extension so that you can gather yourself. When you’re able to communicate your needs clearly, people – and the Universe – respond accordingly. Remember this the next time you find yourself wanting to live up to some inner critic yelling at you that you need to do it all now. Truthfully, you don’t.
3. Go to your ‘spot’
Do you ever notice how every worry, care, or concern melts away when in the company of Nature? Nature is healing. Its green energy soothes, calms, holds, and relieves us of the stressors we carry. Nature is a constant listener and an ever-present friend that we can rely on for support, grounding, and peace. A practice to develop is knowing your spot – those places in Nature where you come alive. Those places that trade your anxiousness for a full cup of love, beauty, creativity, and peace (perhaps, the best brew ever!). The places that engage your inner child, creativity, your heart, and imagination. These are the places that we MUST visit and visit often – we cannot compromise on this, especially if peace of mind and spirit is what we’re after. Get clear on the place in Nature that serves as your haven and incorporate time, weekly to start, where you make it a point to go there. It doesn’t have to be somewhere far; your spot can be a tree in the backyard or a stone to sit upon that calls to you.
4. Protect your peace with gems, herbs, and oils
Speaking of Nature, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the importance of working with gems and herbs that are specific to managing and reducing stress and anxiety. A few favorites include amethyst – a powerful Crown Chakra stone that sweeps you in calm, tranquility, and peace of mind; celestite – a calming Throat Chakra gem that helps you release worry and fear while inviting in the guidance and connection to the angelic realms; and rainbow hematite – a powerful Root and Crown Chakra stone that activates all seven chakras, bringing you alignment, grounding, and increased energy. There are also quite a few oils and herbs that I recommend adding to your arsenal such as geranium, which helps alleviate worry and sadness while lifting your spirits; sandalwood, which calms the mind, deepens meditation, and purifies surrounding energies; and tuberose, a potent Crown Chakra opener that’s calming and instills a deep sense of peace and ease to the mind and body. Be sure to check out my book, The Ultimate Guide to Chakras, as well as visit www.sagegoddess.com to find more stones, herbs, and oils specific to peace, calm, well-being, and managing stress and anxiety.
5. Do peace checks (regularly)
So this might sound a bit corny, but I promise you it’s anything but. Just as we have regular doctor, therapy, grooming, and other appointments, it’s imperative that we take the same care and give the same attention to our mental well-being. A lot of stress and anxiety is caused by not having the proper metrics and practices in place that alert us when we’re reaching our edge. Most times, we don’t know how truly stressed we are until there’s been some major health crisis or an emotional outburst that seemingly came from nowhere. We can do better with our sanity and mental-emotional well-being by incorporating daily (or even hourly) peace checks. So what is a peace check? It’s any practice that you can commit to that will help you gauge where your peace is at any given time of the day. Your peace check can be five minutes of intentional breathing (away from technology and people), a dance break to get your body moving and releasing any stored, stuck, and stagnant energies, acknowledging what you’re grateful for and celebrating the wins in a journal that’s set aside just for this purpose, and more. Have fun with this. I promise you, this will become your new favorite and hopefully, part of your normal.
Times are challenging but we don’t have to add to the challenges and upsets that will naturally arise. By taking on one or more of the above insights, you can live a life that’s more peaceful, centered, loving, and full of goodness. I recently read something that grabbed my attention: Life is to be trusted, not understood. Please keep this close to heart whenever you start to find yourself in your head, trying to figure out what to do, what’s going to happen, and if there’s a way to avoid it. There are some things we can delay, but for those things that we can’t, remember that Life always has a master plan and only asks that we trust Its way.
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