We all have stress — at work, at home and now in dealing with the new “normal” of living with COVID-19. It’s a lot of juggling for most of us – and sometimes it may feel like the chaos and fear of the situation are going to get the better of us. But don’t worry! There are several simple ways to help ease stress.
Take a Deep Breath.
Take a few slow, deep breaths until you feel your body begin to relax. Deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) are all great ways to calm the nervous system. When you feel the stress begin to build, take a break and focus on your breathing. Refocusing and breathing can have a positive and lasting impact on your health.
There are many resources online for breathing and mediation exercises like Calm and Breethe. Whether you need help relaxing or falling to sleep, these apps can offer a helping hand.
The Power of Movement.
Daily exercise naturally produces stress-relieving hormones in your body and improves your overall physical and mental health, which helps you cope with stress more effectively. Schedule time to take a walk, go for a bike ride, join a virtual dance class or spend time outdoors. Even a ten-minute break and a quick walk can have significant benefits on mood.
Connect with Others.
Connect with others through phone calls, email, text messages, Zoom, FaceTime, social media or face-to-face, while maintaining a safe social distance. It’s not how you connect, but the fact that you share with others and give and receive the important social support that we all need to be healthy and happy.
Although stress may be an unavoidable part of life – whether during a pandemic or not – taking small steps like breathing, getting outside, moving more and building a strong social support system can make a world of difference.