As an organizational psychologist with a passion for fostering individual well-being, I understand the immense challenges that come with managing stress during times of crisis, like war. We are all dealing with this on a personal level, with family, friends and at work.
The constant barrage of news, notifications, sirens, and the emotional rollercoaster can take a toll on our mental health. So, let me share five invaluable tips, in simple language, to help you (and myself) survive the coming weeks with your family and loved ones:
1. Embrace Gratitude and Perspective
Begin your day with a mental thank-you note. Gratitude, even for the smallest things, sets a positive tone. Many are going through tremendous challenges now, and keeping a perspective of what is working for us and the fact that this situation is temporary can be helpful. My nephew and brother-in-law are in the IDF now. This is scary and concerning. With that said, they are alive, with friends, and protecting us today. They are not being held hostage. That is something to be grateful for these days, as scary as it is.
2. Take Control Over Social Media
Social media is a double-edged sword. It often magnifies negativity and divisiveness. To regain control:
- Turn off notifications.
- Set boundaries by designating certain times as no-screen zones, like during your peaceful Saturday, before 9 am, during dinner time, and keeping your phone away from your bed.
- Finally, delete apps or exit groups that are hard to resist and cause triggers.
3. Mindfulness and Movement
You don’t have to be a meditation guru or a marathon runner to benefit from these stress-busters: Just 30 seconds of mindful breathing can work wonders. Engage in physical activities – running, in particular – as they are scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and make pain more bearable.
4. Do Good, Feel Good
The power of doing good for others is transformative. It’s like a secret elixir for your own stress: Contribute your skills and time through volunteering, whether it’s cooking, organizing, or participating in larger community efforts. Extend a hand to friends, family, or colleagues. Sometimes, simply checking in on their well-being can ease your own stress.
5. Unlock the Therapy Option
I have dealt with anxiety in my career, regardless of the war. Therapy is the best investment and gift you can give yourself.
To summarize, managing stress isn’t an option; it’s a necessity. With these five insider tips, you’ll be better equipped to manage these stressful times at work or at home.
You’re not alone in this journey; we are all going through a stressful period. I am writing this article right after coming out of the mamad (bunker) with another siren in my neighborhood in Beit Shemesh, Israel. And remember – you have a wealth of resources and strategies at your disposal to help you emerge from the storm stronger and more resilient than ever.