It’s day who-knows-what of quarantine, and just about everyone is feeling the effects of isolation by now. Even people who haven’t been laid off, don’t have kids, and are able to work from home are beginning to feel lonely and cooped up. For those with additional responsibilities and challenges, the effects are even more severe.
Stress is a normal reaction during this time. You might be facing unemployment or trying to find ways to keep your children educated and entertained indoors. You might live alone and have no interactions that don’t take place over the internet. These are all stressful situations!
If you’re finding that stress is taking over your life during quarantine, it’s important to find healthy ways to cope. Here are some relaxation techniques that can help you feel calmer and more in control while you’re stuck inside.
Turn To Your Friends, Peers & Mentors
Even though we can’t see most of the people in our lives in person, we need to be able to lean on each other virtually. If you’re stressed out, you might not feel like hopping on Zoom, but it’s important to turn to your friends, peers, and mentors for help. Make time on a regular basis to meet with friends and peers virtually, whether you’re having a fun night together or just need to vent.
Just talking with a friend or mentor can be helpful, but sometimes you need more. Talking to a coach or a counselor can help you work through your feelings in a constructive way and help you to connect more fully with friends and family during this time. Talking to a coach or mentor can help you to identify your biggest sources of stress so you can work on reducing or eliminating them.
Light Exercise is a Great Way to Diminish Stress!
Exercise is a great way to help regulate your mood and reduce stress, but it can be hard to find the motivation on your own, even just for simple activities like walking and stretching. If you’re feeling stressed, though, there’s almost nothing better for your mental health than light activity. Working some light exercise into your daily routine could have a major positive impact on your well-being in quarantine.
If you’re having trouble staying on track and working exercise into your daily routine, get some external motivation and accountability. Try working out with a friend, or even join an online group fitness or athletic coaching program. It’s easier to get moving when someone else is joining you!
How Deep Is Your Breath? Tips for Expanding Your Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a simple, yet highly effective tactic for managing stress and feeling calmer. It might seem silly at first to simply focus on your breath when you’re feeling stressed, but it can work wonders and bring you out of destructive thought patterns.
You can use deep breathing as a stress relief tactic anytime and anywhere. It’s a good method to use in combination with other stress-busting techniques.
Start by breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Sit up straight and place a hand on your belly so you can feel the slow rise and fall. Place your other hand on your chest to ensure that most of the breath movement is occurring in the abdomen. Then just take some cleansing breaths whenever you’re stressed and need to pause. You can also lie back and breathe if that’s more comfortable.
Now It’s Time to Relax the Muscles!
Relaxation in your body can help to promote relaxation in your mind. In addition to deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques can take you out of destructive thought spirals and help you to feel calmer at any point during the day.
Essentially, muscle relaxation exercises involve tightening muscles in different areas of the body for several seconds before releasing them. This is known as Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Repeating these exercises and using deep breathing techniques can help you relax and move forward when you’re having a stressful day in quarantine.
Identify the Source of the Stress—and Be Kind to Yourself
Stress can come from many sources, and identifying the source of your discomfort can help you to deal with it more effectively. If you’re feeling stressed because you’re overwhelmed and you don’t feel like you’re accomplishing enough in quarantine, take a step back. Be kind to yourself. We’re all just trying to get through this, and we’re doing the best we can!