Here are some tips to help you cope this week:
- Take stock of what you're feeling. Label as many distinct emotions as you can, throughout the day. Regulation starts with knowing how you feel.
- Stick to a routine. Studies show that in times of uncertainty, creating predictability in your schedule can be very calming.
- Watch what you eat. “Comfort food” like a hot cup of soup, roasted vegetables or a slice of freshly made bread can be truly comforting, but eating foods high in sugar or simple carbs can lead to a physical crash that becomes an emotional crash.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol has been shown to increase feelings of anxiety and other red quadrant emotions (i.e., unpleasant, high energy emotions). If you are prone to those feelings, reduce or consider abstaining when emotions run high.
- Go on a digital diet. If binging on news headlines and social media feeds is leading to unwanted emotions, you may want to limit your intake for hours or even days.
- Connect with a friend. Emotion regulation is often a team sport. Reach out to a friend or family member for support.
- Remember that all emotions are temporary. By definition, an emotion is a short-term response to a stimuli. We have hundreds of these responses throughout the day, so know that "this too shall pass."
- Do something kind. Studies show that when we focus on the needs of others, we often boost our own mood.
- Spend time outside. Whether it’s a walk around the block or a 5 mile hike, being in nature "down regulates" your nervous system. Of course, it doesn’t have to be 70 degrees outside to reap the benefits. So bundle up if needed and get outside!
Finding emotional balance in a week of national uncertainty takes attention and a little discipline. Hopefully, these tips help you navigate the next 72 hours with some calm.