So, what’s stress all about?
During such turbulent times, stress is inevitable. It’s the body’s way of coping and often causes us to feel frustrated, anxious, nervous, emotional, or even hungry. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there are three main types of stress – Acute, Episodic and Chronic stress. Each type of stress is manageable, but always reach out to a professional if needed. When we encounter a stressful situation, stress hormones are released into our body and they trigger our fight-or-flight response. Although it is completely normal, it can affect our mind, body, and soul in negative ways. If left unchecked it can lead to unhelpful thought patterns and health issues.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage everyday stress, even during such unprecedented times. Here are a few easy activities that you can do for stress relief. These activities help to maintain inner peace and well-being. They help to produce endorphins – the natural feel-good chemicals, which boost happiness into our lives. Endorphins also lower our stress levels by helping us to sleep well. Keep reading to discover easy ways you can alleviate stress while staying home.
Take a deep breath
Deep breathing exercises are a fantastic way to lower stress in the body. What’s great is you can do this anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re finishing a zoomba class or on a Zoom call, you can take the time to take a few deep breaths to center yourself. When you breathe deeply, you slow down your heart rate and allow more oxygen to enter your bloodstream. This sends a message to your brain to help calm you down, as well as releases those feel-good endorphins. So, breathe in… and out.
Stretch your stress away
We get rid of stress hormones through physical activity. When we don’t exercise, the stress hormones stay in our body and cause hypertension, muscle spasms and pain. That’s why it’s so important to move your body, especially while working from home. By relieving the muscle tension in your body, you increase your range of motion, increase circulation, increase energy, reduce mental stimulation, and even sleep better. Go ahead, stretch out.
Walk it out
While we are sheltering in place, it’s important that we get outside for our physical and mental health. Fresh air will do wonders when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed. A brisk walk around the neighborhood or out in nature boosts the production of endorphins to help reduce stress. More importantly, taking time out from our daily routines to be outside is important for creativity, focus, grounding, and spending time with loved ones. Be sure when you’re outdoors to follow the CDC guidelines – wear a mask and practice safe social distancing.
Face the music
Listening to music can have an incredible impact on our minds and bodies. Different types of music can have different effects on your mood, pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones. Try starting your day with some feel-good tunes. Classical or instrumental music can help you stay calm and focused, while upbeat music can put a pep in your step. Ambient sounds are great for work or study, helping you stay productive throughout the day. Before bed, sounds from nature or crashing waves can help you fall asleep easier so you wake up refreshed. Whatever suits your mood, turn up the music.
Dare to self-care
When it comes to living a happier, more balanced life, there is no right or wrong way to do it. The most important thing is to do what feels right to you. Self-care can mean taking time out for reflection, taking a nap, taking a bath, or taking a fake vacation on your balcony (since leaving town isn’t really an option at the moment). Practicing self-care is an important way to reduce your stress levels and can ultimately enhance your energy, immune system, and overall well being. Whatever it is you need to do to feel more relaxed and comfortable during these very uncomfortable times, be sure to do more of that.