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Reducing stress in a time of crisis

The small ways I'm reducing stress and prioritizing my well-being right now.

Beach walks

All around us, we are facing unavoidable stressors that can trigger stress and anxiety. 

These are stressful times we are living in at the moment that might not change soon. Because of this, we must focus on our health and mental well-being to cope with all the uncertainties that may lie ahead. 

I find that we must all find our own way to deal with these situations that may come up in life. So, to help you to find your way, I have written down a few of the things I do to reduce and manage my stress levels during this time.

Follow a meaningful routine:

It is important to have a set routine now that we are mostly confined to home.

I read about this often and know that many people suggest having a good routine, especially while working from home. My routine includes; enjoying a relaxed breakfast and coffee while chatting with my husband, giving myself a few minutes to wake up and enjoying the morning before the day starts. Then it’s time for a quick and healthy breakfast consisting of muesli with a portion of fruit – this will keep you going and help you stay healthy.

Thereafter, I try to learn french, doing a small stint or just revising some words by using the very user-friendly and game-like language learning app: Duolingo. I find this gets my creative thinking skills going.

Silent zen-meditation & yoga stretches:

I have found yoga to be extremely helpful when the anxiety runs high, so it’s best to have an ongoing yoga routine to help curb the angst. So, after a few minutes of language learning, I take out my yoga mat, which is basically right next to my bed, so that I can’t complain about not having time to stretch. 

Yoga also helps against back pain which can worsen with stress! 

Once I’m in the yoga mindset, I start with a few minutes of quiet meditation – which means: I sit, quietly, just sitting and being,

whereafter I start with my usual yoga stretch routine which takes about 15 – 20 minutes, depending on how much time I have.

After a shower, I start with my usual daily tasks.

Take healthy breaks:

While working I have to remind myself to take my tea-break any time between 10:30 and 11 am. Rooibos tea is a good option, good for your health and eases and relaxes twisted stomachs, amongst other things. Some teas can also help increase your focus. Take a snack break, as long as you snack on healthy snacks like fruit, dried fruit, muesli-rusks or nuts in between to keep your hunger at bay as well as drinking water in between.

Step away from the desk:

I often read blog posts about prioritising self-care, but I also find it very important to physically walk away from your phone or laptop once, every now and then, to get some distance between myself and all the info and emails that are flooding our brains and fuelling anxiety. 

Taking breaks is very important, but one needs to know that if you do not continue working you will eventually get to a point where anxiety will be increased because of being slack and lazy and maybe letting people down. We all have a part to play in keeping the economy going.

Listen to calming music:

Listening to the radio in the background usually calms me down. However, when I do feel overly anxious I often listen to calming music to keep me from freaking out if I feel very overwhelmed.

Have set times for set tasks:

Throughout the day I “schedule” social media time, to be socially informed, but then also having my share and moving on.

I like sharing and following feel-good posts. Laura Jane Illustration is one example of someone who shares truly meaningful and positive thoughts.

Go for walks and be in nature:

When I have time after work – I often work until 7 so can’t go for walks then as it is already almost dark, but on days where I have time I go for a walk along the beach. I don’t take an I-pod or any technological device with me – I just watch the nature scenes and feel the wind and sun and walk.

Spend time with family & friends:

Usually, when I’m lucky my cousin joins me for walks on the beach and we talk and complain and laugh all the way – which then very often ends up in us putting a record on and having a pasta party. Discussing the notion of me being a quarter or an eighth Italian while drinking some red wine, of course, and taking some herbs from the garden for the spaghetti bolognese, lasagna or risotto.

At the moment with social distancing and all that is not possible, so we decided to still meet up at the beach, leaving the pasta party for a future time.

In a world where socialising seems like a luxury – pets can provide great comfort

Hobbies equal happiness:

Cooking is one of my hobbies and also relaxes me. I cook using my Pinterest-boards or my many recipe books in my new kitchen as inspiration.

Helping others:

Personally, I feel good when I can help others – I’m a mentor and support someone who is in need of guidance – this makes my soul happy. My advice would be to check-up on those in need and do what you can to help.

These tips help me to keep my stress levels low in this time of crisis. Just remember to take each day at a time and to find things that make you happy in-between, like pretty things, petting a cat or dog, talking to and spending time with loved ones and friends.

Know yourself and know what is important to you and above all try to find a balance. 

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