One of the best ways to cope with uncertainty is to take charge of your time. Why? Because being proactive can help reduce your stress levels, can support your mental well-being and help you form healthy habits.

Here’s 5 Tips To Take Control Of Your Time:

1. Structure Your Time

Believe it or not, creating a plan for your day can reduces stress and anxiety versus having no plan. Having a plan gives you focus, an intention and purpose in your day.

Consider scheduling in your priorities and choosing a begin time and an end time.  Ever hear, “if it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t get done.” Consider scheduling tasks and projects you want to get done or even general activities. Structuring our time, even our free time is proven to make us more motivated, more engaged and feel a sense of hope and happiness because it gives us direction and a purpose.

If you’re working from home, lack of structure can make you work more. So set clear boundaries and carve out time for your self-care.

2. Establish Routine

Why? Because unpredictability can be anxiety provoking. A routine can provide an anchor for predictability. Routine can reduce stress and give us a sense of control in our lives. We might not be able to control our external circumstances however for the most part we can create a routine for ourselves which can take the uncertainty and guesswork out of our day.

Creating a routine for ourselves can give us the opportunity to prioritize and schedule the activities that are important to us and not leaving it to chance. Perhaps this is the time to schedule in moments of self-care and connection with a friend and/or pursuing that new interest or hobby of yours.

3. Learn Something New

Why? Because learning something new can provide a “buffer against negative emotions” according to Harvard Medical Journal and provide a buffer against the effects of stress.

When you learn something new our brain releases a rush of the reward chemical, dopamine.  This dopamine motivates us to get curious even more and learn even more.

Learning new things increases our capabilities, develops new skills and fresh perspectives. As we reflect on our new skills this can give rise to feelings of competence. Just think, when you did your first DIY project. Weren’t you excited to see what you had accomplished and how much money you saved?

Consider, finding something you are interested in and pursue it this will feel more psychologically rewarding thus increasing more positive emotion & reduce stress.

4. Social Connection

Social connection is good for our health. Per Martin E. P. Seligman in his book, “Flourish,” social connections can help reduce illness and helps us cope better with stress. Close connections and social ties can make us happier, make us less vulnerable to stress and more apt to surviving fatal illness and premature death.

Benefits of strong social connections include but not limited to:

  • decreases your stress levels
  • improves your mood
  • increases positive health behaviors such as exercise
  • increases meaningful in-person connections
  • reduces feelings of loneliness
  • increases coping skills and resilience to stress
  • can lower cardiovascular risks and lower your blood pressure
  • can increase feelings of wellbeing

5. Exercise

Exercise can improve our mood big time and studies have shown that regular exercise can help us better manage stress, improve our sleep, promotes calm and well-being. Per Mayo clinic, exercise can also help reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495. Consider starting small and participating in activities you enjoy i.e a self-care walk, stretching, yoga, gardening or dancing around your living room to your favorite playlist.

Exercise can be a mood booster in addition help you form healthy habits leading to better quality of life. As they say, “Your health is your wealth.”