4 Tips for Managing Stress in Uncertain Times

28 June, 2021
#Student Life

4 Tips for Managing Stress in Uncertain Times

A conversation with certified psychologist and Swiss Education Group Further Education counselor Raluca Fuchete unearthed 4 tips for coping with stress in times of uncertainty that we want to share with you.

  

Stress Management

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We all experience stress – it’s something we feel in our entire bodies, the racing heart, the sweaty palms or churning stomach. 

The chemical reactions that take place when we are afraid ultimately serve to protect us, tensing our muscles for action, providing us with a burst of adrenaline in anticipation of fighting or fleeing. But when fear arises from a situation of uncertainty, such as the pandemic has produced, these physical reactions don’t serve us, and instead, the emotion becomes a feeling of stress.   

There are as many reasons for and responses to stress as there are individuals. Some of us may have experienced the anxiety of being confined for months on end with nothing but our own thoughts, or else boxed in with people we didn't feel safe around. For others, the work-from-home system may have brought out the best in them, and the thought of returning to the office or in-person classes is a source of anxiety.   

As certified psychologist and Swiss Education Group Further Education counselor Raluca Fuchete points out, "While we may all be in different boats, we're on the same ocean."

While we may all be in different boats, we’re on the same ocean.

And this past year, the waters have been rough as we deal with an ever-evolving global crisis.  

A conversation with Raluca unearthed 4 tips for coping with stress in times of uncertainty.  

 

  1. Find the words.  

What this first tip really boils down to is deepening your understanding of yourself, and the best way to do this is through articulating your thoughts and feelings. Rather than simply experiencing the vague cloud that is stress, use language to try and identify how exactly the stress is manifesting itself in your body – are your shoulders tense? Is your digestion unsettled?   

Language and communication can be invaluable in working through our feelings. Writing how you’re feeling in a journal is one way to articulate your anxieties, talking to someone your trust is another. As your self-understanding grows, you may be better able to identify your needs, set boundaries, and uncover what your core values are.  

Mindfulness
  1. Practice mindfulness.   

While this word has become so overused as to sometimes lose its meaning, it remains a valuable tool in overcoming stress.   

To be mindful is to be intentional – it’s bringing your attention to the present, noticing your surroundings. Being intentional about everything we do might seem like too large a task, but start by scheduling moments to notice your aliveness – interrupt your day of work or studies to do 5 minutes of breathing exercises, go for a walk, or meet a friend for a chat or activity that will draw your mind out of the past or future and into the present.  

  1. Practice gratitude.  

Raluca suggests keeping a gratitude jar. Make a habit, every day, of writing down one thing you are grateful for, and put it in a jar you can reach for any time you feel down or stressed. This will remind you of the things that are most important, and help you towards our fourth and final tip which is:   

  1. Cultivate a sense of purpose.  

Without question, the best way to minimize the negative impact of stress is to believe that there is a greater purpose behind the challenges we face.

For many people, finding a purpose is difficult, particularly during hard times. But all of these practices can help us get a sense of the bigger picture. Raluca comments that, "Without question, the best way to minimize the negative impact of stress is to believe that there is a greater purpose behind the challenges we face." As we begin to understand ourselves and learn to live in, and be grateful for the present moment and those whose lives we touch, we are able to start seeing beyond the things we find stressful and trust that we are but a small part of a bigger picture.