The past few days have been overwhelming. George Floyd, the latest victim of police brutality and racism, has sparked a powerful movement across the country.

While we try to process the severity of this movement, everyday life continues. Bills are still due, children need to be taken care of, and life needs to keep moving. The plate is becoming heavier, and when I need to clear mine, I like to fall back on some tips I’ve learned over the years for how to balance stress and anxiety.

Here are three ways to cope with stress during a stressful time:

Communicate

Much of my fear and anxiety comes from my own thoughts swirling around in my head and letting the negative thoughts consume me. I reached a huge growing point in my life when I finally started to talk things out with my family. Letting those thoughts out into the world make them more tangible, making it easier to define what is really bothering me and tackling it head-on. If you don’t feel like you have someone in your life that you can reach out to or feel like no one will understand, there are so many outlets available to you at your fingertips that are ready and willing to help you:

Rhode Island:  BH Link of RI, (401) 414-LINK (5465)

Massachusetts: Department of Mental Health, (877) 382-1609

National: Crisis Text Line, Text HOME to 741741

Meditate

No, I don’t mean to find a field of flowers, cross your legs, and close your eyes as you try to reach a higher self. I simply mean stop and take a breath. When I’m stressed and my brain is computing a million problems at once, I find myself feeling drained and defeated by the end of the day. Before that happens, I drop everything and I sit. I turn my electronics off, I go to my favorite room in my house, and I catch my breath for five minutes. It can feel like you are behind in life when anxiety is consuming you, but I promise you, this will be a very productive five minutes.

Write a “Grateful List”

This one is my favorite and I’ve been doing it for years. Whenever life gets overwhelming and stress is at the forefront, it’s easy to forget about things for which we should be thankful. Set a timer for two minutes and write down all of the things for which you are grateful. The items on your list can be big or small, from “I’m grateful for iced coffee” to “I’m grateful for my family.” Put pen to paper, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how big your grateful list really is. The pros will outweigh the cons and it will make your worries feel a little smaller, helping you overcome anxiety in the long run.

I am not a psychologist and I am not a doctor, but I am an advocate for mental health. During stressful times I find it important to look inward and find peace within yourself in order to live up to your true potential. I hope these tips help you get through tough times as they have helped me. We can get through these hardships together, SouthCoast!

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