Mental Stress Busters for Corona Relief
20 Ways to Relieve Stress in the Age of COVID-19
Worried about Coronavirus? There’s so much going around and in this time of uncertainty, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. But there are ample of things you can do to get through this gloomy time without freaking out.
Remember, adjust the sails when you can’t control the wind.
What is stress?
Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or unreal—the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a swift, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the “stress response.”
“Frozen” Stress Response or Immobilization
Do you feel “frozen” or totally struck under stress? Are you unable to take action? The above-mentioned syndrome is often related to a past history of trauma. Your challenge is to break free of your “frozen” state. This can be achieved by rebooting your nervous system and reactivating your body’s natural “fight-or-flight” stress response. Physical activities like walking, running, swimming, dancing, etc. can prove to be really helpful. As you move, focus on your body and the sensations you feel in your limbs rather than your thoughts. This will your mind and soul to “unstuck” and move on.
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The fastest way to relieve stress
There are countless ways to keep stress under control. Yoga, meditation, and exercise are just a few examples of stress-relieving activities that work amazingly in the time of lockdown. But those working on the frontline, for example, healthcare workers, police officials, and government employees, you can’t just excuse yourself to meditate or take a long walk. In these situations, you need something more immediate, accessible ad effective.
One of the fastest and most reliable ways to rule out stress is to engage one or more of your senses- sight, smell, sound, taste, touch- or through movement. You will need to experiment with what works best for you because everyone is different. But trust me, the payoff is huge. The productivity of your work will increase if you know how to relieve stress quickly.
20 Tips to Tame Stress
1. Stay active, stay stress-free
Virtually any form of physical activity can act as a stress buster. Physical activity pumps feel-good endorphins in your body and other natural neural chemicals that enhance your sense of well-being. Exercise can also help you refocus your mind on your body’s movements, which can improve your mood. It helps the day’s exertion fade away. Consider walking, jogging, gardening, housecleaning, biking, swimming, weightlifting or anything else that makes you active.
2. Practice yoga
Yoga is a combination of physical movements, meditation, light exercise, and controlled breathing- all of which provide excellent stress relief. To get started, you might join a yoga class, enroll in an online program or use an app to begin practicing. And while you’re likely to gain instant benefits from a single yoga session, you’re likely to reap long-term benefits too. Try to incorporate it into your life in a consistent way.
For learn more about yoga for stress, click here
3. Take Out Time for Leisure Activities
It can prove to be an effective way to relieve your stress. In the time of COVID-19, build time for leisure activities like painting, gardening, playing games, redecorating your home. Getting in touch with your creative side like painting, coloring in a coloring book can be a great stress reliever. Adult coloring books have risen in popularity. When you feel better, the efficiency of your work improves and hence your performance.
4. Express Gratitude
Feeling locked up in your home? At least you have a home. Gratitude helps you recognize all the things you should be thankful for. Think about all the blessings that you have in your life. Stay positive. Gratitude also reminds you of all the resources you have to cope with stress. This can be quite empowering. Studies show that grateful people enjoy better mental health, lower stress levels and a better quality of life.
So, make it a habit to be grateful. Either when you sit with your family for dinner or you can write a diary before going to sleep of things you are grateful for.
5. Laugh out more
It is said, “Nothing in this world is as contagious as laughter”. In this dark time, a good sense of humor can’t cure all ailments, but it can definitely help you feel better. It lightens your mental stress and causes positive physical changes in your body. Laughter fires up and cools down your stress response. So read more comics, hear more jokes, watch comedy shows, or sit with your family or friends and laugh your heart out. My suggestion: watch some classic Monty Python plays like, The Ministry of Silly Walks”. These Brits are so hilarious, you’ll soon be cracking up rather than cracking up. You can also give laughter yoga a try.
To learn more about laughter yoga, click here
6. Take a break from technology
We live in an era of smartphones, computers, and gadgets, it has become very convenient to know what is going around you. These days continuous coverage of news channels about COVID-19 keeps you updated about the situation but it also has brought stress to some weak-hearted souls. Taking a short hiatus from technology will give you an insight into what your senses respond to best.
- Stuck in a long queue at the grocery store? Instead of talking on the phone, take a moment to watch people around and pay attention to what you hear or see.
- Instead of checking email, taking a few deep breaths, look out of your window or sip some tea.
- Resist the urge to use social networking sites and give yourself a massage instead.
- Try turning into relaxing music or riding in silence for 10 minutes.
7. Tune-up to your favorite music
If you feel overwhelmed by a stressful situation, try taking a break and listening to relaxing music. Playing soothing music calms your nervous system and has a positive effect on your body and soul. It lowers the blood pressure and reduces cortisol, a hormone related to stress.
8. Sleep better
Everyone knows stress can disturb your sleep pattern. Unfortunately, the lack of sleep is also a significant cause of stress. This vicious cycle causes your brain and body to get out of whack and gets worse with time. Make sure to get the seven to eight hours of sleep. Make sure that your bedroom is a tranquil oasis with no reminders of the things that can make you restless. Avoid doing any mentally demanding work before going to bed so that your brain gets time to calm down. Take a warm water bath before going to bed or reading a book can divert your mind from negative thoughts. Avoid taking caffeine and excessive alcohol during the evening as it activates your senses and disrupts sleep.
9. Stay away from Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine
Try to avoid or at least reduce your intake of nicotine and any other drinks having caffeine and alcohol. They stimulate your nervous system and increases your level of stress rather than reducing it. Alcohol, when taken in large quantities, acts as a depressant, but it also acts as a stimulant when taken moderately or diluted with natural fruit juices.
10. Talk to someone
Stress can cloud your judgment of things. It prevents you from seeing things clearly. Simply talking your heart out to someone about how you feel can be helpful. Talking to someone can distract your mind from stressful thoughts and releasing some of your built-up tension. You can talk with your friend, work colleague, parents, trained professional, and siblings. They can help you find solutions to your stress and put your problems into perspective.
11. Convert social distancing into social networking
Social distancing in the time of COVID-19 gives a sense of isolation. Social contact is possible with the help of technology and can be best used at this time. It is a good stress reliever because it can offer distraction, provide support and help you tolerate life’s ups and downs. So take out time to FaceTime with your family, friend, email a relative if you are living away from your family.
12. Enjoy Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has real paybacks for stress relief—it can help you feel energized, more relaxed, or more present in the moment. Research suggests that certain scents have the ability to alter brain wave activity and decrease stress hormones in the body. So whether you enjoy candles, diffusers, or body products, consider including some aromatherapy into your day.
13. Manage your time
We all have a long “to-do” list and it often becomes stressful to make progress in your busy routine. During the COVID-19 lockdown, you have ample time to complete your tasks. Prioritize and diarise your bucket list.
Note down what tasks you need to do personally and what can be delegated to others. Note down what needs to be done immediately, in a week, next month or when time allows you to do so. This way, the tasks that might have appeared to you as overwhelming and unmanageable, will become more manageable. Arrange for buffer times too. This will help you to deal with unexpected and emergency tasks. It will also provide you with time for your own relaxation and wellbeing.
14. Develop a Positive Self-Talk Habit
If you had a friend who would constantly tell you: “You are so fat”, You are so ugly”, “You are hopeless”, “You are going to fail” and so on. You would probably tell that “friend” to F**K OFF, right? So how can you allow your own negative thoughts get in the way of your mental peace? Self-isolation has brought depression to many people in this gloomy time. Self-doubt, self-criticism and catastrophic predictions will not prove to be helpful. If you’re constantly thinking things like, “I don’t have time for this”, or I can’t stand this”, you will stress out yourself.
Positive self-talk will help you develop a healthier outlook and take positive actions.
15. Try your hand in cooking
While COVID-19 lockdown has led to the shutdown of all the eating joints around you, it has become really difficult for you to go out for your favorite meal or to order it at home. So, now what? Making food can help you reduce stress, among other benefits. It can soothe jangled nerves, heal a broken heart and cure boredom, insomnia, and anxiety. Cooking is therapy and fattening or not, trust me, it’s effective.
16. Keep a Journal
Penning down your thoughts and emotions can be a good release for pent-up emotions. Don’t think about what to write-just let it happen. Write whatever you want to write. No one else needs to read it. There is also no need to strive for perfection in grammar or spelling. Just let your thoughts flow on paper- or computer screen.
17. Seek counseling
If new stressors are challenging and you are finding it difficult to cope with it, try looking for reinforcements in the form of therapy or counseling. Since its time of social distancing, you can take online counseling sessions. This can come to your rescue if you feel trapped, overwhelmed, if you worry too much or if you have trouble carrying out daily routine work. Professional counselors or therapists can help you identify sources of your stress and provide you with new coping tools.
18. Eat a balanced diet
A poor diet can bring greater proximity to stress. Emotional eating and reaching for high-fat, high-sugar foods can provide a temporary sense of relief but will add to your long-term stress. Refined carbs, like cookies and potato chips, can cause a rise in blood sugar. When your blood sugar booms, you might experience more stress and anxiety. Consuming a healthy diet can help you battle stress over the long haul. Foods like eggs, avocado, and walnuts support mood regulation and energy balance.
To learn recipes that will boost your immune system, click here
According to Dr. P. Goldin, “the goal of meditation is not to get rid of thoughts and emotions. The goal is to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and learn how to move through them without getting stuck”.
During meditation, you focus your inner energy to calm your jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind. Meditation can instill a sense of calm, peace and balance. It can benefit your mental as well as physical wellbeing. Guided meditation, guided imagery, visualization are few forms of meditation that can be practiced anywhere at any time, whether you’re out for a walk, riding the bus to work or at your workplace. You can also try deep breathing anywhere.
For more information on meditation, click here
20. Organize your belongings
Cleaning and organizing can make people feel less anxious. It is believed that the clutter or piles trap negative energy in them, theretofore it is important to get rid of negative energy and let the positive energy flow in. Getting into a messy home filled with piles of clothes, unwashed dishes, or things needing to be put away feels different than walking into a clean home. When you keep your things neat and organized, it clears the mind as well. do you remember the last time you couldn’t find a piece of cloth or an item you needed at that time? If you incorporate mindfulness in your organizing and cleaning, it can actually be a form of healthy mental therapy.