Happy, Healthy Mind – How to Relieve Stress (Covid-19 edition)
I think it is safe to say that a lot of us are feeling more stressed out right now. With all that is going on in the world, that is totally understandable. Personally, I have had to make a more concerted effort to keep a positive mental attitude everyday. I read some very helpful articles a couple of days ago on how to manage stress. I wanted to share some tips from these articles, coupled with my personal experience, that I feel could be very helpful.
1. Take one day at a time. Naturally our stress can cause us anxiety, but don’t increase today’s anxieties by worrying about tomorrow too. Generally speaking, some stress is inevitable. It is easy to feel out of control in circumstances we have no control over. However, worrying over things we cannot prevent can increase our stress. It is good to remember that a lot of times the things we worried about most, do not end of up happening to us. Worrying can waste our precious time and energy, robbing us of our joy. #dontworrybehappy
2. Be reasonable. As a recovering perfectionist, I have felt the benefits of not setting too high of expectations for myself (or others). This has led me to less stress and contributed to greater overall contentment with my current situation. Honestly, it has helped to recognize my limitations and embrace them without shame.
3. Keep your sense of humor. It’s true. Not only has it been proven scientifically that laughter will help your physical and mental health; it can relieve tension, brightening your outlook and mood. See, funny animal videos can be therapeutic! LOL.
4. Stay calm. Negative emotions and thoughts can cloud your thinking and steal your peace of mind. Try to be grateful for what you do have and continue to emphasize the positive aspects of your situation. Look at the bigger picture that things are temporary and will improve. When I find my mind going down a negative path, I like to change the channel, by literally changing my actions or scenery.
5. Keep a routine. Some type of order, rather than disorder, in your life will help you to cope with stressful times. Try to adapt to your new normal as quickly as you can. Make time for relaxation and activities that speak to your heart. Get out in nature to pause, breath, and refresh your soul. Connect with friends and loved ones, even if its in a video chat. Keep technology in its place, making time each day to be free from social media and news reports.
6. Take exceptionally good care of yourself. Exercise has been proven to promote better health, and can lift your mood making it the perfect antidote for stress. Eat healthy foods to nourish your body and immune system. Get enough sleep each night. Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. Oh, and drink enough water. (As I gulp water). In a new study with healthy women, mild dehydration dampened moods, increased fatigue, and led to headaches.
7. Get support. Look for ways to safely share your feelings and connect with others. Call a trusted, compassionate friend that will listen to your concerns. It can help to relieve your stress to talk openly about your anxieties. Journaling can help get the dark troubling thoughts, that can seem scary and unbearable, out in the open on paper. This can greatly reduce their intensity and your fears. My weekly video conference with my therapist has proven to be a valuable tool to help me cope with my stress; keeping a healthy mind. If your stress becomes overwhelming, be assured there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting professional help during these challenging times.
8. Have a good cry. Yup, it’s OK. Give yourself permission. Crying can be a mood enhancer. After crying, many people experience emotionally soothing effects which can greatly relieve stress.