11 ways to deal with anxiety, stress and worry

In light of recent events, especially the Covid-19 pandemic, collectively as a human race it seems we are all being confronted and are living through a traumatic experience that could lead to an increase in worring and anxiety symptoms.

Throw in the changes in the economy and huge losses across all industries that turned into a global econocmic crisis. The world as we all knew it has changed and is changing rapidly into a new world

Consequently, as an entrepreneur and a business woman the Covid-19 impact is undeniable. A drop in revenue anywhere from 20% – 80% for most businesses. 

Evidently, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to take its toll.

The impact of Black Lives Matter (BLM)

Amplified by the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement,  as a black woman, entrepreneur and a recent single mother to a young black child these are emotionally hard times.

Statistically, I am less likely to be paid well, less likely to benefit from having my new business idea funded and most likely to be unable to create any considerable wealth that following generations can benefit from. 

In addition, as a black woman I am more likely to attempt entrepreneurship funding it with loans and savings. For most and including me entrepreneurship is a means of creating a better life and economic opportunities for myself and my family.

In the United States, ethnic minority women control 44% of women-owned businesses with growth rates at 518 percent.

In comparison, in the UK only 5% of businesses are led by ethnic minorities with no clear split of what percentages are attributable to Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME). 

Recent research from the institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex shows that BAME workers and single parent households were the hardest hit by the pandemic. Losing more jobs, single parent households losing twice as much in weekly earnings, more than one adult and children.

Times of stress, anxiety and worry

The pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement is trauma.Past generational and present trauma = anxiety and worry.

For the most part, these challenges have their own individual experiences woven in that cause varying degrees of stress.

Throw in professional, social and economical changes alongside the stress and confusion caused by the shifts we are facing in our cultures globally, the new normal is manifesting negative feelings such as discouragement, disconnection, depression, despair, anxiety, sleeplessness, insomnia, lack of concentration and lack of motivation.

Addictive behaviours and emotional pain

It is believed that delving into the forest of our fears lead to addictive behaviours in order to self soothe. Not all addictive behaviours involves illicit drugs. Gabor Maté puts it better than me. In fact, you can learn more from his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.

We can be addicted to the simplest things in life; work, TV shows, exercise, shopping and more common and societally shamed, eating disorders, sex, gambling and drugs.

The former, behavioral addictions like the later are responses to emotional pain. Meeting human needs and soothing emotional pain

However, Gabor Maté’s theory is that we all have some addictive behaviours. It becomes damaging when any behaviour that gives you temporary pleasure or relief with negative consequences becomes difficult to give up.

I am not a professional or a psychologist but after years in healing therapy for emotional growth, here are a few proven tools that have helped me to turn my view of life during my most stressful times from tragic to beautiful.

Tools to help you release stress and anxiety

1. It’s good to talk 

There is value in sharing stories, connecting with people and having a support network. Human beings are built to connect with people. So talking through things with friends can help make you feel better. Also activities with friends and relatives help us relax and laugh.

2. Journaling

A favourite of mine, I have talked more about journaling in this blogpost here.

Writing therapy is cost effective. It brings with it many positives like labelling emotions and acknowledging traumatic events. A great way to organize your thoughts and make sense of trauma. It improves our working memory as it is no longer processing the experience once we put pen to paper

3. Me time

The biggest challenge it seems these days, given lockdown but between work and personal obligations caring for family, we are limited on time. Consciously setting aside time for you a few times a week is important.

4. Avoid unhealthy habits

This I prefer to think of more like creating healthy habits, we are bombarded about the dangers of relying on caffeine, alcohol, smoking etc but unhealthy habits do have a tendency to cause new problems that are often harder to tackle. 

5. Helping other people

If like me, you get satisfaction from helping other people. The more you give the more resilient and happier you can feel. 

6. Working smarter

We are all mostly working from home which has the tendency to trick us into not drawing clear lines between when to work and when to down tools and make time for rest, relaxation and recharging. The time saved on a commute can be used to fortify your new working style. I like to design my work around the concept of Flow (Full enjoyment, focus and involvement in tasks). This means, loving what you do. We all know that no job is without aspects that we least enjoy. My recommendation start with tasks that allow you to reach a state of Flow and then throw in, between the tasks that you least enjoy. In order to be able to work through the day smarter.

7. Sleep

If someone told my teenage self that I would one day struggle with sleeping I would have given a full-on LOL in the face to the messenger and sent them packing faster than they could say “Jack Robinson”. Throw in adulthood and this favourite past time can sometimes be elusive. Important and necessary, remembering to take the much-needed time to rest and sleep at least 7 hours in the day is important for your phisycal and mental health and plays a vital role in how you respond and deal with stress. 

8. Exercising

No pressure to join the fit fam here.  Even a walk is exercise. The goal with exercising is to lower the body stress hormone (cortisol) in the long run and help replace it with endorphins. At my most stressed yoga and walks is my go-to. 

9. Supplements

Now readily available with great references and knowledge. Antioxidants and natural anxiety relief alternatives are worth a go. Lemon balm, omega-3 fatty acids and valerian root are some options, always consult your physician before introducing supplements to your regimen.

10. Laugh

Making time to do the things you enjoy most is very important. Watch that favourite movie that makes you laugh until you are tear jerking. Listen to your favourite soothing song or dance to your favourite song with the volume as loud as you need. 

11. Learn to say no

Not everything is within your control but for the stressors that are. You can start working towards learning to actually say no. There are no medals for suffering. Say no to tasks that leave you with too much on your plate that aren’t important and leave you overwhelmed.

The stresses of life can always turn up at the most unexpected times. A great way to reduce the pressures we feel often mean we have to take our minds away from the sources of stress.

I would love to know what you are doing to manage your stress and anxiety. symptoms.

Please send me a direct message @zezeonline_