Show all posts Show all posts What if I worry about the future?

Although by now some normality is returning to our daily lives, most of us still feel tense and uncertain. We don’t know what will happen now – will things keep getting better or will a second wave of infections lead to more restrictions? Will I or my friends and family get sick? And what might the long-term consequences be?

Thoughts cause stress

There are situations in which a physical stress response is triggered by something happening in front of us. If we see a car hurtling towards us, our heart rate increases and we move ourselves out of the way. But thoughts can cause stress responses too. Sometimes the thoughts are about something in the past that won’t stop bothering us, but often they are thoughts about an uncertain – and potentially threatening – future.

How we often react

If we notice that we are worried about the future, we often make the mistake of trying to replace worrying thoughts with positive ones. But in most cases that doesn’t work, because these positive thoughts immediately call up our “inner critic”. Put another way, as soon as we start to say something nice to ourselves, our mind responds with a contradiction. And we get caught up in a chaotic web of thoughts. 

What actually helps 

However much we might wish to have different thoughts, we are stuck with the ones that are there. It’s a bit like the weather: you can wish for sunshine when it’s raining, but the rain will keep going until it stops. This doesn’t mean that you have to like having worrying thoughts about the future. But you can just leave them there and not pursue them. This works best if you can see them as something impersonal – just as rain comes and goes, you can let your thoughts come and go, too.

For more tips and advice on dealing with worries about the future, have a look at the article “I feel stressed and I don’t know why – what can I do?

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Show all posts Show all posts 5 Tips for Better Self-Care in Daily Life

When our daily lives are hectic it’s all too easy to forget to take care of ourselves. An occasional bubble bath or trip to the sauna aren’t enough to redress the balance, because self-care isn’t just something to be done at the weekend or on holiday. It doesn’t just mean doing something nice for yourself once in a while; it also means paying attention to your own needs and looking after yourself on a daily basis. It’s not just about giving yourself what you want, but also what you need. We want to suggest a few tips for incorporating more self-care into your daily life. If some of them seem difficult, keep going and practice!

1Be aware of your needs

Set two or three alarms over the course of the day. When the alarm sounds, ask yourself what you need in that moment: “How am I feeling right now? Am I hungry, am I cold, am I frustrated, am I stressed, do I need a break?” Then act according to that need. If you asked yourself whether you were stressed, the answer could be to take a short break and look out of the window, or perhaps step outside for some fresh air. If the question was whether you were cold, the answer could be to put on a warm jumper and make a cup of tea. It can be something small or trivial that helps to give you what you need.

2Stop self-criticism and self-critical thoughts

If you constantly find yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, doing yourself down or telling yourself you can’t do something – stop! Challenge those thoughts and try to counteract them with more realistic ones. The long-term goal should be to develop a more caring attitude towards yourself.  If that doesn’t work straight away, stop your self-critical thoughts even so and remind yourself: “Stop, I don’t want to do that anymore.” Perhaps next time you can go a bit further and say something nice to yourself.

3Do something that brings you joy

And not only once you have finished a project you’re working on, you’re about to go on on holiday or the pandemic is over. Joy should be a part of our daily lives. Often something small and simple is enough – a delicious drink on the balcony or in the garden, reading a few lines of a favourite book or listening to a favourite song at top volume. The only limit is your imagination. Get creative and do something that brings you joy every day.

4Write a journal

Writing a journal can help you practice self-care in many ways. For a start, it’s a good way to get to know yourself better, which is part of self-care. Regularly ask yourself questions like “What is important to me in life? What am I good at? How would I like to live? What makes me happy?” Writing a journal can also help to make you aware of your own thoughts and feelings, to develop a mindful relationship with yourself. “How do I feel? What’s on my mind at the moment? How do my thoughts change when my feelings change?” That’s a great basis for being more aware of yourself and taking better care of yourself in the long term. 

5Take breaks

Regular breaks are essential for self-care in daily life. As well as a traditional lunch break we recommend taking several breaks over the course of the day. It can make a big difference and it’s often enough to stand up and stretch, play a song, eat and drink something, walk around the block or just look out of the window. Another tip: if you work a lot at the computer or sitting down, it makes sense to be active during your breaks – for example you could try a new yoga pose. But if your work is mainly physical, you should let yourself rest in your breaks, for example by doing a sudoku or crossword puzzle. You can be as creative as you like.

Change often needs time. Trying something new usually takes effort at the beginning. Perhaps these 5 simple tips will give you the push you need to integrate more self-care into your daily life. Let us know which ones you’ve tried and how they felt!

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Show all posts Show all posts 5 Quick Tips for Achieving a Good Work-Life Balance

Coronavirus has turned many aspects of our lives upside down, including our jobs. Many people are working from home, some have been put on short-time working, some have found their working day has not changed much at all and others are having to do a lot of overtime. In times like these it is particularly difficult to pay attention to work-life balance, so we’ve come up with 5 tips to help you find more equilibrium and contentment. Here goes!

1Write a to-do list

An eight-hour working day can feel very long if it’s a chaotic one. Write a to-do list in the morning, or even better the night before, with all the tasks you have to complete. Sort them according to importance and cross them off as you finish them over the course of the day. This structure will help you not to forget anything, so you can focus your attention on other things.

2Concentrate on what’s important

Separate what’s important from what’s not, split large tasks into smaller sections, and set priorities – a to-do list is also helpful here. Effective time management with a system and a plan helps you to structure the day and to always know what’s up next.

3Be tidy

This is particularly important at the moment as we are spending more time at home than before. If you can, spend a few minutes each day tidying up your home and workspace. A tidy environment will help you concentrate better and work more effectively. And as an added bonus, once the weekend arrives you can enjoy your well-deserved break without first having to tidy up a complete mess. 

4Do unpleasant tasks first

Whether it’s at home or at work, complete the most unpleasant tasks straight away. The longer we put something off, the more difficult it seems until at some point it feels insurmountable. Maybe you’ve experienced this before – so go on and just get it done! Then you’ll be free for something else.

5Make time for yourself regularly

This tip is especially important for finding balance and contentment. Schedule a period of time to be ‘you time’, and use it only to do things which you enjoy and which make you feel good – like reading a book, taking a bath, going for a walk, or baking something delicious. The most important thing about this tip: don’t forget to abide by the schedule you set!

What ideas do you have for what you could do with this time?

One extra tip from us: Stress is completely normal.

But it’s important that it only comes in short bursts, for example an unusually intense work day. It can help to keep in mind the principle “stress must be followed by recuperation”. Constant stress can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, and at worst even to illness. Sometimes it can help to divide up the work and share it with others. Here too, you should be aware and regularly check in with how you are feeling. 

Let us know whether these tips were helpful for you, and whether they’ve helped improve your daily working life. We’re excited to hear from you! 

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Show all posts Show all posts How to Cope with Coronavirus Anxiety

Many of us have felt more anxious in recent weeks than we have in decades. It’s not surprising that the current situation makes most of us feel worried and afraid. Anxiety is one of the basic human emotions. Its function is to help us survive and protect us from physical and psychological suffering. 

However, although anxiety can be helpful, it can also easily become paralyzing and dysfunctional. There can be a fine line between protecting ourselves and panicking. How can we find a good balance in these uncertain times?

Focusing on the positives

We have control over what we say, see, hear and do. This might sound banal, but it gives us a huge advantage. It means we can decide which issues we want to devote energy to and which we want to leave aside. 

Stimulus control is a method used in psychotherapy to promote mental well-being. You can apply this method to the current situation by doing more of what makes you feel good and distancing yourself from things that fuel your anxiety. 

Distancing yourself from anxiety

Using the principle of diffusion can help you to distance yourself from your fear. We’re often so wrapped up in our thoughts and feelings that we completely identify with them (fusion means merging or being one). Diffusion involves changing our perspective so that we distance ourselves from our feelings and observe them from the outside.

Try to observe your anxiety as it increases and decreases again. In the role of a spectator, you automatically develop a certain distance to your feelings, which prevents you from being overwhelmed by them.

What if my anxiety does take over?

These methods are not intended to prevent or suppress your anxiety. Rather, we want to find a healthy way of dealing with anxiety in order to regain control in the long term. Anxiety or even panic are bound to come over you from time to time. You can use a short breathing exercise to calm yourself down. Try to make your outwards breath longer than your inwards breath; for example, inhale for four seconds and breathe out for 6 seconds. This activates your parasympathetic nervous system, causing your anxiety levels to drop.

You can find more tips for dealing with anxiety during the coronavirus at “Fear and Corona: 6 ways to deal with fear of the coronavirus“.

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Show all posts Show all posts Strategies for Mental Health and Resilience

The coronavirus brings radical changes to our lives

The coronavirus crisis has drastically altered our lives, both in public and in private. Official restrictions have forced us to make radical changes to our daily routines and habits. Whether it’s our jobs, family relationships or social interactions, things that we used to take for granted now pose huge challenges, both logistically and mentally.

Anxiety and uncertainty impact our mental health

For many of us, these activities are now accompanied by a constant background hum of worry and anxiety. Though we may not be aware of it all the time, these concerns gnaw away at our mental health. And at the moment, many of the activities which help relieve stress are unavailable to us.

The routines which ground us have disappeared or changed, and our cherished hobbies or time spent with friends may be affected by restrictions. We also sense that there won’t be a swift return to “normal” life – we have to adapt to the “new normal”. 

We can strengthen our mental wellbeing

To take good care of ourselves during the coronavirus crisis and beyond, we can take active steps to promote psychological wellbeing. We’ve compiled a list of ideas that can help:

Where to find strength during the coronavirus crisis – six tips for daily life 

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Show all posts Show all posts Overcoming Fear in Times of Coronavirus

It is possible to combat your anxiety

Constant new infection numbers, horrifying headlines from around the world, severe restrictions on social life – for many of us, the current situation is extremely frightening. We are afraid of infection and illness, afraid of the unknown, afraid of what might happen. And this fear can reach into every area of our lives.

What is fear?

Fear is a basic emotion that we are born with. It has a signalling function and is found in every culture in the world. The expression of fear can protect us from dangerous situations and warn our fellow humans. For example, we proceed cautiously when we are uncertain. The feeling of fear holds us back from getting into dangerous or life-threatening situations.

How much fear is too much?

However, being too fearful is a hindrance and can be very difficult for people affected by it. Too much fear can lead to avoidance behavior on a daily basis, with people no longer participating in once cherished activities. At the moment, it may even get to the point that somebody is so afraid of being infected with the virus that they no longer leave the house.

A high level of fear often goes hand in hand with feeling overwhelmed and powerless, which can then make the fear even stronger. In extreme cases, fear can make people very ill.

How can I cope with anxiety?

You are probably asking yourself what can be done to combat fear and anxiety. The good news is, a lot!

Click here on an article on 7 strategies for managing anxiety. If you know somebody who could also benefit from these seven strategies then please feel free to forward this video or the article.

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Show all posts Show all posts Stress and Coronavirus: Coping with the Crisis

We are all facing the challenge of having to adapt to the current situation and rearrange our lives. A great deal has changed since a few months ago. It’s completely understandable that so much change isn’t easy. 

We’ve put together a few tips for coping with this stressful situation as well as possible.

Find new routines

For most of us, COVID-19 has meant spending more time inside due to new arrangements such as working from home or part-time. In order to avoid cabin fever, it’s important to create set routines.

Try to stick to fixed working hours. Change out of your pyjamas and make time for regular breaks just as you would in the office. Also make sure to enjoy your free time after work.

It’s a good idea to incorporate activities that make you feel energised into your everyday routine. These “energisers” can be anything that makes you feel good: a walk around the block, a phone call with a friend, or a short yoga session. 

What shall I do with all my free time?

Suddenly having so much free time is uncharted territory for many of us. It sounds great at first, but can be a real challenge. Free time isn’t necessarily quality time. A day spent watching Netflix on the sofa doesn’t feel particularly fulfilling, and often doesn’t even bring the feeling of relaxation we were hoping for. 

Instead, try to use your new time for things that will actually help you recharge your batteries. You could try HelloBetter’s free online stress management training. It has been specially adapted to support you through the current challenge of coronavirus, and is available free of charge. Maybe you have a project that you’ve wanted to tackle for ages, or found it hard to exercise as much as you’d like when you were working full time. This is a great opportunity to consciously take time for those things that have fallen by the wayside, without feeling guilty.

Connect with others

For several weeks, we have only been able to see friends and family under restricted conditions. This might make you feel lonely. Try to connect and communicate with your loved ones as much as possible. They probably feel the same as you. 

Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed. As a first step, you can call the German Telefonseelsorge (0800 111 0111) or the HelloBetter hotline on 0800 000 9554 (daily from 8-8pm, free of charge from German landlines and mobile phones). These hotlines are operated in the German language. 

You’ll find more tips to help you stress-free through the coronavirus crisis in our blog “10 things we can do to deal with stress in the time of coronavirus“.

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Show all posts Show all posts 3 Tips for Dealing with Loneliness in Times of Corona

3 Tips for Dealing with Loneliness in Times of Corona

Keeping physical distance from other people is thought to be one of the most effective ways of limiting coronavirus infections. Some of us even have to spend time in quarantine, whether as a family, in a shared apartment or alone. This kind of forced isolation feels unfamiliar and unnatural, and can give rise to a host of unpleasant emotions. Even before the coronavirus crisis, being alone was something many of us struggled with. How can we make it easier?

1Recognize your needs

Sometimes we seek to give the impression – both to others and ourselves – that we are not really affected by the crisis, and not feeling lonely. We don’t want to complain, make other people worry or wallow in self-pity. These concerns are understandable. We often don’t want to allow ourselves to feel unpleasant emotions. 

But in the long term this is not a good strategy, because it means refusing to accept our own experience of the situation. That can often mean our emotions make their presence felt even more strongly. So it’s really important to recognize our need for intimacy, allow ourselves to sometimes feel sad and lonely, and allow others to see this, too.

In this way we are being good friends to ourselves during a time of crisis, showing ourselves empathy and accepting ourselves the way we are.

2Maintain relationships

Being alone does not have to mean being lonely. Even if circumstances dictate having as little physical contact with other people as possible, that doesn’t mean that we are not allowed any social contact at all. 

When you are feeling lonely it can really help to get in touch with others. If it’s not possible to meet in person, try a phone call, video call or voice message. See how it feels to talk about your feelings of loneliness. It can keep you feeling connected to others and even strengthen those connections.

3This too shall pass

Remind yourself that physical distancing is a temporary measure for this phase of the pandemic. Everything is changing all the time. A lot has already changed since the early weeks of the pandemic and things will continue to change. 

Think back to when you could be close to people and hug them, and remember that this will be possible again at some point – and that we will appreciate being together even more after this experience. 

You can read the full article with detailed tips and advice here:

Lonely in times of corona? These 3 tips can help!


If you are struggling with the current situation and would like to learn different ways to cope with stress and tension, try our free online course for stress management during the corona crisis.

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Show all posts Show all posts How We Can See the Corona Shutdown as an Opportunity

A pandemic, a crisis, a global catastrophe – reading the news it’s difficult to find anything positive about the reality we are now living in. How can anything about the situation be positive?

A chance for a fresh start

On the one hand it seems absurd to try and find positives, especially if you or one of your loved ones has been directly affected by the virus. But nevertheless, in the long term we face the challenge of reorganizing our lives. We find ourselves at a watershed moment, giving us the chance to (finally) do things differently.

A chance to use time differently

It may well be that you suddenly have more time on your hands than before – whether through fewer social activities, reduced working hours or in the worst case becoming sick or losing your job. Perhaps – at some point – it will be possible to see this time as a gift. An opportunity to rethink things: what do you really want to do with your life? What changes could and should you make to be happier in the long term? Collect your ideas to get a sense of which plans make you feel good and which you would like to put into practice.

A chance for a change of pace

As well as concrete lifestyle changes, many of us could long have benefitted from slowing down and accepting things as they are. Now we are forced to do both of those things. Instead of feeling compelled to lead a quiet, uneventful life, we can make a conscious choice to do less and fight less against our feelings.

We can see the crisis and the forced suspension of normality as time out, giving us the opportunity to find a new life path. A more detailed explanation of what that might look like can be found here:

Corona Crisis: How We Can Use Our Time Well

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Show all posts Show all posts

Introducing calmthroughthecrisis.com

In March countries across Europe introduced restrictions on public life to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The crisis continues to have a defining impact on our lives, upending our reality and throwing us off our usual course. We are witnessing significant social upheaval, and we are all personally affected in many different ways. 

Many of us are finding life difficult under the measures brought in by politicians and health authorities to try to contain the pandemic. We are worried about our loved ones and ourselves, and may be having trouble coping with the situation. 

We find ourselves overwhelmed with questions. How dangerous is the virus for me or my loved ones? What’s happening with my finances, my job or my business? How can I organize care for my children and other family members, and how will social isolation impact us psychologically? Whether it’s wearing a face mask, keeping my distance or limiting social contact, how can I manage my fear of being infected?

These questions give rise to stress and anxiety. For people with mental health issues, they can make existing symptoms worse. But the current situation also poses huge challenges for people who have never had mental health problems before. We can expect to see an increase in the number of people needing psychological support and therapy.

With this in mind, calmthroughthecrisis.com offers quick, easy and cost-free access to a comprehensive range of resources. It’s a place to get immediate psychological support to help you through the coronavirus crisis.

The course is provided by HelloBetter, which has years of experience offering online courses for preventing and treating mental health issues. No other provider worldwide had carried out so many clinical studies on the effectiveness of its online psychological training courses. The Calm Through The Crisis initiative was created in partnership with Allianz Insurance and many other supporters. 

1. Media library with expert advice and practical coping strategies 

Right here you are in our media library. In the coming weeks we will be adding tips and tools to help you cope with the coronavirus crisis and the psychological challenges it poses. From expert information videos with psychologists and psychotherapists to concrete examples of proven strategies for dealing with these challenges, a wide range of helpful resources will be available.

2. Online stress management training course

This eight-week coronavirus stress management course has been specifically adapted to the challenges of the current crisis.It will help you learn to cope with the stress, worries and fears associated with the coronavirus and teach you how to care for your own psychological wellbeing. 

The course will strengthen your ability to cope with specific individual problems. At the same time, it will give you new perspectives on the difficult feelings that may arise in relation to the current situation. 

Our stress management training course is the best evaluated course of its kind worldwide. It offers an excellent basis for coping with the current crisis.

Register here for the free online course.

We hope you will find our resources useful: let’s help each other stay #calmthroughthecrisis together. We value your feedback and welcome it across our platforms. 

Take care and stay healthy!

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