When the United States is experiencing a pandemic, such as the current situation with the coronavirus, it’s easy to put all of your focus and brainpower towards your physical health.
However, this can easily cause some intense stress and anxiety. While staying healthy and up to date on the status of the virus is definitely a top priority, so should be your mental health — for it is just as important as your physical.
Similar to how the symptoms of a virus or flu can be extremely taxing on your body, so can stress and anxiety on your mental health.
You deserve to focus on you, even if it’s for 30 minutes each day.
Fortunately, there are many simple stress-reducing activities that you can do right at home to help relieve anxiety and stay calm during this time of uncertainty:
As of 2019, it is believed that 200 to 500 million people globally practice some form of meditation — and for good reason.
Among many other amazing benefits, meditation can significantly reduce stress and lessen anxiety. These two mental pressures often go hand-in-hand and meditation can help tackle both at the same time.
Many scientific studies conducted over recent years have shown results of individuals experiencing lower levels of stress/anxiety as well as a decrease in the symptoms that stress causes when regularly participating in meditation.
If you’ve never tried meditation before — now is the perfect time to.
Meditation is a great chance to step away from everything going on, especially social media, and take a moment to simply focus on yourself and breathe.
Step 1: Find a quiet spot or corner in your home where you can sit comfortably and be undisturbed for a short amount of time.
Step 2: Sit in a position that you can stay in for a few minutes and close your eyes.
Step 3: Try to relax all the muscles in your body (especially your shoulders) while keeping your back straight.
Step 4: Start by focusing on your breath — breathe in through your nose, let your lower stomach fill with air, and then breathe out through your nose in a controlled rhythm.
Step 5: Continue to do this over and over again and slowly let your mind relax.
Step 6: Try to clear your mind and allow it to go blank, in a way, you’re giving it a break from thinking a million things.
Step 7: When you wish, open your eyes and slowly stand up, you can also transition into stretching while breathing after this.
There are many different forms of meditation and ways to practice it. Feel free to explore and find what helps relax you the most.
You can also listen to music while you meditate — YouTube has a lot of great, free tracks that are designed to match with meditation.
The main takeaway is that you’re giving your brain and your body a few minutes to relax, recharge, and replenish.
Taking the time, even when you’re cooped up inside, to exercise every day is a great way to practice self-care that can help reduce your stress and anxiety.
There are so many great ways to get out of your head and get your heart pumping instead with endless, fun, at-home workout videos on YouTube as well as many fitness apps that are offering discounted subscription rates right now. With most workouts through these resources, all you need is a space you can move around in and sometimes a yoga mat and hand weights!
This is also a great opportunity to get your kids moving as well and expend some of their energy. It can become a fun family-friendly activity!
As well, even with social-distancing in place, you can also still step outside, safely go for a solo run and get some fresh air!
Daily physical activity is proven to reduce both stress and anxiety — not to mention make you feel more energized and positive!
Right now, everyone is focused on not getting sick, but are you focused on what nutrients you are putting in your body and what foods you are fueling your mind with?
With restaurants closing and many food stores struggling to keep up with demand, thinking about your families’ meals for the next few weeks can bring a lot of stress.
However, this alteration to your normal routine can be a good thing!
You can view this as an opportunity to prepare more healthy meals at home and provide your mind and body with the proper sustenance it needs to keep you happy and healthy every day.
Not only consuming healthy food, but cooking it, can provide you with another productive activity to engage in every day — one everyone can benefit from!
While, as mentioned above, breathing is an important part of meditation, it is also important throughout your daily routine.
Taking a moment to breathe when you feel yourself begin to stress or worry can greatly help you stay calm and think more rationally about whatever your attention is on.
There are many breathing exercises that you can engage in that you can do anywhere at any time.
It’s a small but impactful act of self-care that we whole-heartedly recommend! We all know how to breathe, but it’s amazing when we’re intentional about using it to steady our hearts and minds.
Your nighttime routine is arguably the area where self-care is most important and can have the most positive impact on your stress levels.
Not giving your body proper time to unwind as well as the recommended amount of sleep (seven to nine hours) can lead to an increased amount of stress and anxiety.
Following a regular sleep routine, has endless benefits, including calming the mind, restoring the body, regulating mood, sharpen decision-making, and improve concentration. All of these attributes make you better able to cope with stress.
The coronavirus pandemic can lead us to feel like we don’t have any control, however, one thing we will always have control over is how we take care of our mental health.
Taking the time to allow our mind to reset, our body to recharge, and engaging in activities that promote good health are all important parts of reducing daily stress and anxiety.
By practicing self-care you can better equip your mind to cope with these current stresses life is bringing us and take each day in stride.