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Have you been overwhelmed by the news, your chronic illness, money, and if you’ll get COVID? 

I understand, although most of us living with chronic illness are used to days at home and staying away from people who might get us sick, this pandemic doesn’t seem to have an end. Finding ways to lower your stress levels is more important now than ever and remember you will get through this. Think of hard times you’ve been through before and how you came through it.

Here are a few ideas that have helped me.

  •  Distracting yourself.
  •  Controlling something you can.
  •  Turning off your brain.

First distraction, it works for babies, puppies, and anxiety. Anything creative will focus you and your brain on something different. Think creativity, think art, google a drawing of your favorite animal, print it out, and color it in. Try a new recipe or make an old recipe you used to love. Plant flowers in your yard or buy flowers and arrange them in a beautiful vase. 

Controlling something you can, when you don’t have any control over how you will feel from day to day, having control over other things can help. For instance, take one drawer you have wanted to clean out and go through it. Making concrete choices really helps give you a sense of control. Throwing away things away that you no longer need helps with releasing not only old things but feelings and memories too.  Donating items to people who can use them helps with feelings of gratitude and being of service to others. Then when you put things back in a way that looks and feels good to you, you’ll breathe a heavy sigh and your shoulders will feel a bit lighter.

Turning off your brain, anything that helps you calm down that monkey in your mind. Whether you love Disney movies, Suduko, or Madden NFL 20, give yourself permission to spend an hour or two or three and turn your focus onto something outside yourself. Your brain is so busy trying to figure out the world and how to keep you safe in it, give it some TIME OFF!

If you can incorporate any of these ideas into your life on a daily or weekly basis you will begin to notice changes in your stress level and your sense of control. 

What do you do to lower your stress level?