Some Ideas for Managing Stress during COVID 19.

Widowhood is VERY stressful. You’ve had to make a myriad of decisions about all sorts of things, just when you feel least capable of making good decisions. Grief stresses your physical and emotional body.

Understanding and acknowledging that your life as a new widow is going to be stressful is actually a healthy thing to do. Having a plan for managing your stress can keep it from sabotaging you! Here are some things you can actively do to help manage your stress:

Set Priorities

Not everything is an emergency. Not every situation has to be addressed RIGHT NOW. Ask yourself how important this task will be five years from now. Focus on the things that are really important (Like your own well-being, for instance!).

Take Your Time With Major Life Changes

You’ve been through one of the biggest life changes there is, so if you don’t have to make decisions about where you’ll live or where you’ll work or buying that new car, don’t! The old adage of waiting a year to make any large decision is still a wise one.

Just Say No

Your grief has probably lowered your capacity for productivity. This is not the time to take on big new projects or increase your work load. Be kind to you and just say, “No, not now. Maybe in a year or so…”

Take Time to Relax

Set aside 10-20 minutes throughout your day to just relax and do some deep breathing. A mid- morning, mid-afternoon and early evening break will restore your body. Also leave several evenings a week unscheduled.

Make Distinctions Between Realistic and Unrealistic Worries

Worry is the girlfriend of widowhood. Make a list of your worries and then rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most likely to happen, 1 the least likely to happen). Fearful thinking is very stressful. Don’t give into it. Address realistic worries with an action plan.

Don’t Bottle Up Your Emotions

Keeping your emotions bottled up increases stress! When you are grieving, emotions can come out of nowhere, sometimes at inopportune times! If you feel a big emotion coming on when you are in public, try to excuse yourself so you can release the emotion in private. Express your feelings to friends or by writing in a journal. Talk to a counselor…

Practice Relaxing

Take 3 deep breaths in through your nose and release them slowly through your mouth. Make a habit of doing this every hour of your waking day. When you practice relaxing in this way, you are better able to use this as a strategy when stressful situations arise. Hourly breathing practice will have a beautiful effect on your blood pressure and mood!

Give Yourself Extra Time

Get up earlier, leave for appointments earlier, go to bed earlier, create holes in your schedule so you don’t feel pushed to get things done. Overestimate how much time every thing will take. Grief slows your mental processing speed.

Use these ideas regularly and you’ll feel less “stressed out.” When you are proactive in managing stress, you are less likely to be the victim of grief- related stress.