2020 has been one of the most unpredictable years in recent history. It began like any other, but by March, there were widespread lockdowns due to COVID-19. After a few months, things seemed to be improving.

However, as the end of the year approached, many countries faced another peak in new cases, in some instances spiking higher than ever before. Families started asking themselves how this might impact holiday gatherings.

Maybe COVID-19 has upset your family’s plans, too. How can you deal with the anxiety that results from these constant changes? Here are some practical tips for finding peace of mind in stressful times.

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Take Ownership of Your Emotions

Taking ownership has two main aspects. You need to identify what you’re feeling and then allow yourself to experience these emotions.

Feelings can be overwhelming and difficult to manage. It takes practice to deal with them appropriately. This process is even more complicated because many people believe that expressing emotion is a sign of weakness.

The truth is that true peace comes through finding balance. You can neither deny your feelings nor let them control you.

Express What You Feel

In today’s society, you may feel pressure to present an image of happiness and well-being all the time. While it’s healthy to have a positive outlook on life, you must also learn to deal with negative emotions like anger, sadness, and fear.

When you ignore these feelings, they can intensify. As a result, you may explode later because you didn’t take time to deal with them properly when they began.

Suppressing negative emotions can also contribute to many health problems, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Stomach and intestinal problems
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cancer

Expressing your emotions may mean spending time alone to process them through tears, meditation, or writing. If you’re more extroverted, you may prefer to talk with someone about how you feel.

If your negative thoughts and emotions are related to another person’s actions, it’s best to communicate with them when you’re calm. You might need a few days or weeks to work through your feelings, but it’s worth the wait.

Talking through a situation calmly usually leads to the best resolution. In this way, you’ll avoid angry exchanges that can further damage the relationship.

Take Time to Relax

In stressful times, you need to be intentional about setting aside time to relax. There are many different strategies that people use to achieve this. Choose what works for you.

For example, you might:

  • Take a nap
  • Draw or write
  • Watch funny videos on YouTube
  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Play music

Exercise

Exercise can be an excellent stress reliever. It releases endorphins and serotonin, substances that bring a feeling of well-being.

If you’re not in the habit of exercising, it’ll take some willpower to get started. However, you’ll find that a 20- to 30-minute walk or jog can help you feel better.

Nervous feelings typically lessen in response to exercise. Physical activity can also reduce pain from headaches and muscle tension. Once you start experiencing these benefits, you may find it easier to add exercise to your routine.

Relate to Others

Relationships with other people are critical to our mental health. We need to talk with family members and friends and enjoy their company. In stressful times, they can often help us find perspective.

There’s no denying that COVID-19 has made many relationships more difficult. Social isolation has prevented us from spending time with loved ones. However, it doesn’t mean we have to lose contact.

You can stay in touch by phone, email, and text messages. Video conferencing makes it possible to share many experiences without physically being present. With a little creativity, you can make special events happen virtually.

For example, you can schedule online meetings with friends and family for the following purposes:

  • Birthday parties
  • Workouts with a partner or group
  • Book clubs
  • Family reunions
  • Game nights
  • Lunch dates
  • Dance parties
  • Arts and crafts

Practice Gratitude

When you’re under a lot of stress, it can be challenging to see what’s going well. It’s worthwhile to stop and consider all the little things that bring you joy and peace.

Gratitude can have a positive effect on many aspects of well-being. For instance, it contributes in the following ways:

  • Improves self-esteem, motivation, and productivity
  • Decreases anxiety and depression
  • Minimizes negative thinking patterns
  • Helps restore a childlike sense of wonder

Learn to Forgive

Forgiveness plays a significant role in inner peace, too. It doesn’t mean you forget past hurts or merely ignore them. Rather, it involves heartfelt changes in your perceptions and actions toward the person who mistreated you.

Forgiving others can improve mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. It may also keep you from developing physical ailments and psychiatric disorders.

In a Nutshell

When things don’t go the way you hoped or planned, you may feel anxious and stressed. To deal with these feelings, you must first acknowledge that they exist. Then, you can express them appropriately.

Take time to relax, get exercise, and interact with friends and family. Practicing gratitude and forgiveness also contributes to finding balance. By following all these suggestions, you can achieve peace of mind during stressful times.

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