Stress is a common response to difficult events or situations, and the Coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented challenge that is placing many people under a lot of strain. So if you’ve been having a hard time dealing with your stress and worries lately—you’re not alone. The Coronavirus health crisis is the emotional equivalent of an ultramarathon. That’s why it’s crucial your coping strategies are less about escaping unpleasant feelings through distraction and more about taking a healthy approach that supports you to last the distance.
Here are five simple stress resets that double as simple ways you can boost your mind-body wellbeing anywhere, any time as you strive to safely navigate the current world environment.
1. Travel from Home
While you might not be able to take that relaxing tropical vacation you might have had planned—take a mini, mental vacation from your day-to-day “to do” list and the endless newsfeed. Visit a virtual museum, take a destination tour online, cook a local dish, and learn three fun facts about a favorite holiday destination you have bookmarked.
2. Get Grounded with Breathwork
Any time you feel yourself being swept away, your mind starts to race, or you’ve woken from a stressful dream—try some controlled breathing exercises. Actively manipulating your breath means you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system and send a signal to your body that you are safe and well. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position with your eyes open or closed. Inhale through your nose for four counts and then exhale through your nose for four counts. Repeat until you feel calmer.
3. Hit Play on Music Therapy
Research shows that focusing on relaxing sounds lowers stress, eases jitters, and is a natural mood enhancer. Create a playlist that soothes and uplifts your mood—this type of music can have a beneficial effect on your physiological functions, slow your pulse and heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and decrease levels of stress hormones.
4. Find Your Hygge
This Danish concept (pronounced “hoo-guh”) went mainstream over the past few years and has taken on new meaning amid today’s health pandemic. Meaning coziness or contentment, it’s the notion of taking satisfaction in every day, small things. Mindfully make yourself a refreshing salad, eat dinner by candlelight, take a long bath, or brew your favorite tea (and take your time drinking it!). Pause, reset, and appreciate the goodness all around you.
5. Steady Movement
Regular movement, whether it’s low-impact exercises like yoga, pilates or walking, or an at-home HIIT workout, all have a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, and to dissipate stress. When your body is busy, your mind will be distracted from the worries of daily life and will be free to calm down and think more creatively. Enjoying your physical activity along a picturesque trail, waterfront, or any place that you find peaceful can offer even more relaxation.