Strategies for stress

With the nation now in a third Covid-19 lockdown, Wigan Warriors chaplain Glen Rickard has offered some advice on strategies for stress during these difficult and unprecedented times.

Lockdown can be stressful! However, we must remain hopeful that things will improve. I have good reason to say this because unlike last year, the ‘roll out’ of the vaccine has started. This is a game changer. Together with our own efforts of staying home and protecting the NHS, we can squeeze the life out of this terrible virus. The science appears to point to a massive change by Easter, so as we say in Wigan ‘yed down, keep gooin’! There is light now at the end of this tunnel. Be hopeful!

Here are some things to bring encouragement and hope.

Don’t focus on where you are. Focus forward, to where you intend to be. We have the spring ahead and the winter is passing. You will soon feel the sun on your face again. Grab a coffee, sit in your favourite chair, inhale deeply and feel the heat. Dream. Cast your mind forward to a summer night at the DW, when you will be able to cheer the Warriors on! It’s coming!

Live while you wait! Plan a routine and a rhythm to your day. This gives you control and provides stability to your life. If you don’t have a lockdown routine, make one.

Mindfulness. There are some mindfulness videos on YouTube that provide help to relax body and mind, particularly as you prepare to sleep. These really help with stress and anxiety and can take no more than 15 minutes.

We rise by lifting others. Reach out to someone who you think may be in need of a phone call or a text. Someone who is going through a more difficult time than you. Ring them, or send them an encouraging message. It may be just what they need! Go on take a risk. Don’t over think what to say, just make it simple and positive! Don’t forget any key workers that you know. They are real heroes. A negative response is rare, so be an encourager.

Take daily exercise if you are able. A daily 20 minute walk in the outdoors will do your mental health a power of good. Whatever your level, regular exercise is good for both your body and your mind.

If you can’t get out, then travel or nature programmes on TV can really provide a de- stress. Let your mind travel. Enjoy the wildlife and let the sea and mountain breeze blow over you. I’m told that this is the next best thing to being outside.

The spiritual matters. As a Christian chaplain, I believe that you are valued by Jesus Christ and that He wants you to “cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you”. He is well acquainted with life’s struggles. He promises to walk with and bring peace to anyone who asks. We could all use good company at this time!

Glen Rickard, Wigan Warriors chaplain