stop People are creatures of routines. We crave stability and knowing what to expect.
Knowing what to expect gives us a sense of control. Feeling out of control is part of the reason the current COVID crisis is so difficult. All of our routines are disrupted.
- We don’t know what’s going to happen next.
- We don’t know how to plan for the next few weeks (or months.)
- We don’t know how to protect ourselves and our families.
And not the knowing messes with our brains and emotions. It stresses us out.
You may not even want to think about stress management, yet, if you’re willing to be proactive, you can reduce your stress. Even in times of unknowing.
For example, you can choose to get up early every day and watch the sunrise. Listen to the birds sing and appreciate the quiet. Maybe you’ll even make a list of things you’re grateful for. And if you’re struggling to feel gratitude, that’s ok too. Here’s an article from Psychology Today that explains how it’s important to drop the “shoulds” and feel your feelings.
Besides gratitude here are five other ways you can include stress management in your day.
5 Stress Management Techniques for Finding Strength
1- Be Kind to Yourself – If you’re feeling anxious because you want to be more productive than you’re being, give yourself permission to be kind and accepting of yourself. Everyone is going through a traumatic experience and it’s ok to admit that you’re not ok about it. Take a bath, read a book, go to bed early. Try to incorporate more nurturing activities into your day.
2- Exercise – When you move your body, you boost circulation and release “feel good” chemicals in your brain. Dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins will flood your body and help you recalibrate. These chemicals give your brain something tangible to focus on so you break any pattern of worry. Giving yourself that mental space is essential for your health.
Many gyms have moved their classes online and YouTube is full of exercise routines suitable for anyone. Even 10 minutes can help.
3- Get Fresh Air – Spring is here in Bucks County, Pa. If you can get outside in the sunshine and fresh air, it’s bound to lift your spirits. If you can take a walk (in an uncrowded area), then you can combine fresh air with exercise.
4- Eat Healthy – Healthy meals nourish your mind, body, and spirit. For instance, baked salmon with a side of fresh asparagus or a spring veggie medley are good choices to help you feel better mentally and physically.
5- Stop the Scroll – If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, the endless scroll of news and social media will only make it worse. So, step away from your phone. Take a walk, exercise, or find something else positive to do. Limit your news and social media consumption to 10-15 minutes/day.
While we’ve experienced a crisis before, this one feels different, mainly because there’s no defined endpoint. That means we can only take this one day at a time. Or even a moment at a time. If you can breathe deeply and focus on your breath throughout the day, you’ll experience some of the benefits of yogi breathing and that will help with stress management.
If you need a qualified therapist to help you, there are many offering online sessions now so please, get that help if you need it.
Otherwise, here’s another article from Psychology Today on 10 Things Mentally Strong People Do During Pandemic.
Stay safe, support your mental and physical health and we’ll see you soon!