Your daily life was stressful before Covid-19. Once the pandemic hit, it compounded stress you were already experiencing and create new stressors you could have never anticipated.
A year in, you’ve adapted to wearing masks, standing 6 feet away from others, and bringing hand sanitizer with you wherever you go. But yet the stress is still there, and it’s bad for your long-term physical and mental health. How can you relax and give your body the calm it’s craving?
Closing your eyes and slowing your breathing lowers your heart rate and has the incredible effect of calming your body. Count to 5 slowly as you inhale and exhale. If you can increase your breathing count, all the better!
Take a Walk
Simply stepping away from your work or activities and moving can increase blood flow, decrease your heart rate, and allow you to take a needed mental break.
Surround Yourself with Nature
The Japanese call it “Forest Bathing.” Plants and trees have the wonderful effect of soothing our weary minds. Go sit in a park, garden, under a tree, or wherever you can find some greenery.
This is a little different from deep breathing in that you ignore distractions from the outside world and focus your mind internally. Many forms of mediation have a deep breathing component to them. There are numerous options to choose from, so explore and find what work’s best for you.
If you can’t get outside for a walk and meditating isn’t your thing, yoga may be a great alternative to reduce your stress. Yoga typically combines stretching, balancing, breathing exercises, and meditation into one workout. Like meditating, there are a variety of yoga styles that you can consider.
Call a Friend
Talking about our issues with others allows us to mental release of problems and potentially find solutions to them. Moral support from someone who cares about your well-being can help you feel better, more relaxed, and able to conquer your issues.
Do Something that Makes You Happy
Engaging in activities that brings you joy can clear your mind and send happy hormones like endorphins and dopamine through you, erasing that stress. So go ahead and sing, play cards, woodwork, paint, or whatever gives you pleasure!