Managing Stress & Anxiety

Written by: Maddie McGarrah, M.Ed.
Managing Stress & Anxiety

As I am sure we have all felt, the past months have brought on multiple stressors. In dealing with the global pandemic, working from home, your child’s school schedule changing, an economic depression, racial injustice, and many more, it is not surprising your stress and anxiety levels are heightened. I keep telling many of my clients, “I would be worried if you weren’t stressed out or anxious about what is going on as what is happening in our world is something we have not faced before and thus is stressful and anxiety provoking.”

Here are some tips that can help you manage your stress and anxiety:

  • Identify – See if you can identify what might be causing you either stress or anxiety. There can be many sources of stress or anxiety. Some sources could be your work, interpersonal conflict, finances, isolation, discrimination, unexpected changes, or anticipation of a future event you are unsure of how it might turnout. Identifying things that may be causing you stress or anxiety and naming it will help you be able to see how to address it.
  • Control – Recognize what is inside and outside of your control, or even what part of a situation is in your control. Anxiety is often what we feel when we are faced with an uncertain outcome or something we cannot control. It is important to recognize what is inside your control and to focus on addressing that rather than what is outside of your control.
  • Prioritize – Is there anything you have on your plate that you can eliminate? Make sure you are not overloading yourself. Then look at what you have going and create a schedule to get things done, starting with what is the most pressing.
  • Boundaries – Give yourself permission to say “no” to things when you are feeling overwhelmed to give more time for yourself or to work on things you need to get done.
  • Deep Breathing – When feeling physically anxious or like your thoughts are getting out of control, engage in a deep breathing exercise such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Find a script for progressive muscle relaxation and allow yourself 5 minutes to engage in this when feeling overly anxious or stressed to bring yourself back to baseline and ready to tackle the stressor.
  • Self-Care – Make time for the things you enjoy and celebrate what you have accomplished.
  • Seek Help – If things are getting too tough and nothing seems to be working seek out a trusted family member, partner, friend, or professional to talk through what you are experiencing. You are not alone!
  • Grace – Have grace for yourself, we are living in a stressful time and it is okay if you don’t feel like you have it all together, you’ll get there. Take it one day at a time.