We all experience stress from time to time but over the past months, it seems there is little if any relief from tension in our lives. If current events, to include the COVID-19 pandemic, don’t wreak havoc on our health, then the stress caused by altered routines, financial worries and/or loneliness due to being separated from friends and family certainly will take a toll on our mental and physical well being.
It is exactly at times like this that it becomes especially important for us each to take steps to relieve stress, focus on our emotional well-being and maintain our physical health.
Joining together as a community is important. Many communities have come together, establishing support networks that help out with running errands or picking up supplies for those who are limited in their abilities to go out in public. Other communities have organized activities, such as:
- Sidewalk “Chalk Art” shows
- Tailgate get togethers
- Outdoor theater or musical performances
- A neighborhood outdoor bingo game
- A driveway dance party or exercise class
- Neighborhood scavenger hunt
It is also important to take care of your personal mental and physical health. In addition to eating well, limiting alcohol and getting a good night’s rest, here are some tips for reducing your stress:
- Take 5 – Take a few minutes to sit quietly and focus on your breathing (maybe before the kids get up!). Sit up straight, eyes closed with your hand resting on your stomach. Breathe in deeply through your nose and breathe out fully through your mouth. Deep breathing decreases stress by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Focus – This is also a good time to take a moment and meditate. Think of all the good things you have in your life. Focus on positive thoughts and take a couple of minutes for self awareness. You might also want to limit your time watching the news or social media. Keeping up to date with reliable information sources is great but constant negative news can become overwhelming.
- Laughter – A good old fashion belly laugh is good for the soul and turns out it is good for the body. Laughter helps lower cortisol a stress hormone and raises endorphins a brain chemical which improves your mood.
- Turn it up – Put on some music and let the stress slide off your shoulders. Listening to relaxing music or nature sounds can be a great way to reduce stress. On the same hand, putting on your favorite dance tunes and dancing like no one is watching can not only help relieve stress but it is also good cardio.
- Exercise – Speaking of cardo, all types of exercise are good ways of lessening stress. Try yoga (or do virtual yoga with friends), walking, biking, jogging or even mowing the lawn. All will help lessen stress and help shake the Covid-19…pounds!
Use this time and the circumstances to be creative. Focus on what we do have and the positives in our lives. And remember, if the stress becomes too much, there are people and organizations that are here to help. Text HOME to 741741 or use https://www.messenger.com/t/crisistextline to reach a crisis counselor