There’s no denying it – we’re living in unprecedented times. And there is more stress, chaos, uncertainty, and fear in the air than many of us have ever experienced before.
There’s a lot to worry about. And it’s important not to minimize that. But here’s what we know for sure: stress has profound effects on every system of your mind and body.
Of course, it’s important to note that not all stress is bad. But when we’re talking about the chronic stress created by situations like the global Coronavirus pandemic, stress wreaks havoc on your mental and physical health.
No matter how your life is being affected, now is a crucial time to learn tools and coping strategies for managing your stress and anxiety.
This article gives you seven simple, easy to use mental and physical tools you can use right now, to start relieving stress from the comfort of your home.
Make some sound.
Think about how we process intense emotion when we’re little: we cry. Scream. Wail. Whimper.
But as you get older, you learn to be quiet, to hold it in, to regulate.
Channel your Inner Child and make some sound. This is a practice to do somewhere you feel safe. Close the door, and maybe communicate with roommates, kids or partners that you’re taking some space to let out some feelings. Set up the understanding that you’re okay and safe, and let then yourself release.
If it’s more comfortable, you can scream into a pillow.
Use Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
Emotional Freedom Technique is an evidence-based tool for self-healing and stress relief and has a calming effect on many of your mind and body’s systems. From heart rate to cortisol reduction, EFT is a powerful tool to have in your back pocket.
To start, lightly tap on the back of your hand, in between your ring finger and pinky finger bones.
Breathe deeply as you tap. Keep tapping and breathing until you feel a shift.
There are many ways to use EFT; the above is a simple place to start.
Practice 4-7 or Beak Breath.
There are countless studies and examples proving the benefits of breathwork, and just like EFT, you can use breathwork in many different ways to relieve stress, improve focus, or increase your energy.
Eyes open or closed, start to inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold for a moment, then exhale out your mouth for a count of seven.
Keep breathing this way for five to ten minutes, or until you feel a shift.
Move your body.
It’s not news that moving regular exercise is good for you. All sorts of exercise – from the most intense HIIT class to a gentle walk – are powerful stress relievers and mood boosters.
And, for the sake of stress relief, remember this: it doesn’t have to be vigorous. This isn’t a moving-to-lose weight practice. It’s a moving to move energy practice.
Dance, shake, stretch, and breathe. Put on your favorite playlist, make some space in your home and just move. It can look silly, feel silly, maybe even make yourself laugh.
Connect to something bigger than yourself.
If you have a spiritual practice, this can look like prayer. It can look like seeking out someone less fortunate and helping them.
Or maybe connecting to the earth by putting your feet on the ground, or staring into the bigness of the sky, or soaking in the rays of the sun or moon.
Remember that you are not now – nor will you ever be – alone.
Start your day with routine.
Uncertainty creates stress in your body and mind – you can use rituals and routines to relieve it. As someone who’s worked from home for years, I can attest to the importance of ritual and routine.
Start your day with practices that nourish, ground and calm you. Any of the above tools, simple meditation, free writing, mindfully drinking water, or gentle stretching are all great places to start.
Ask for help.
Whether reaching out to a friend, coach, therapist, family member, online group, etc., it can be so healing to simply share what’s true for you right now. Even more so if you live alone or know you struggle with depression and isolation, this is the time to reach out.
And, if you know someone who may be struggling, take the time to reach out.
And yes, it’s tough when you’re in the thick of your feelings to reach out. Let this be your nudge to ask for help.