Dr. Shake Hocson, past president of the Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association, Inc. and guidance director of FEU Manila and Makati, talks about how we can use pandemic-induced stress factors to boost our inner strength.
Have you ever heard of recalibrated stress? It refers to new stress factors that may be affecting your health and wellbeing as you go through the new normal. How can we overcome this?
The COVID-19 pandemic upended our world. Even typically resilient individuals experienced a toll on their mental and emotional wellbeing. Mental wellbeing stems from our thoughts, feelings, and how we cope in our daily life. The stresses have also been recalibrated because of the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world and the resulting new normal. For example, the Omicron variant at the beginning of 2022 threw a wrench in flattening the curve, leading to heightened restrictions and this frustrated many people.
Recalibrated stress factors
Mental health concerns increased during the pandemic as COVID-19 triggered mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Financial challenges and sickness, in particular, are newly recalibrated stress factors. And after two years of working from home, we now face the the next new normal by going back to the office and facing normal traffic yet again.
How dealing with stress can lead to inner anchored by environmental strength
Inner strength can be developed by having healthy thoughts, feelings, and behavior backed by consistent efforts, purposeful , perseverance, and responsibility. It gives you a sense of mastery over your mental and emotional wellbeing with the support of your sources of strength—loved ones, mentors, officemates, and other significant people in our lives. Learning how to deal with stress can build your inner strength as it teaches you to have a healthier perspective over stressful events.
Here are eight ways to deal with stress:
Nurture yourself with self-care
Everyone deserves to practice self-care because when you do, you can think better, your belief system will strengthen, you will be calmer, you can make good decisions and actions. It can set you out to accomplish goals, smell the flowers along the way, and be a gift to your loved ones, school, office, and community.
My suggestion is to create a dedicated self-care plan that is aligned with your needs and values. After assessing it, refine your self-care activities,them with your interests and strengths. This will help you fine-tune your focus, set goals and commit to them, and track your progress. If you have small wins, celebrate them and be consistent. If it’s not working, change some of your activities and recommit to your recalibrated plan for stability.
One of the simplest tips I can give is to practice mindfulness or being in a state of awareness that involves attending to the present moment and cultivating an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance of one’s experiences. A simple grounding exercise of the five senses, mindful walking, eating healthy during breaks in the morning, afternoon or evening can help you improve your emotional and mental wellbeing.