Dealing with a global pandemic is quite challenging. Many people are experiencing problems with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues due to the quarantine requirements. The stress of such a situation can undoubtedly weigh heavily on an individual as well as their entire family. It’s vital that you develop a coping mechanism to help you release stress during these days.
10 Helpful Ways to Release Stress
If you’re feeling the pangs of shelter-in-place orders, then you need to know that there are ways to release the stress you’re feeling. Here are ten simple methods to keep your mind busy and ease excessive tension and strain.
1. Get Your Body Moving
The relationship between exercise and the improvement of mental illness has been well studied. During times of a pandemic, when you are quarantined to your home, it’s easy to skip workouts because the gyms are closed. However, you need to keep your body moving.
You may be tempted to eat more and move less. Developing a couch potato persona is not going to help you. Eating excessive amounts of sugar and other carbohydrate-laden foods will do more harm than good. When you are exercising, you are helping to raise levels of vital neurotransmitters in the brain.
Your brain depends on serotonin to help you feel good. If you are not exercising, then your levels of this hormone may not be optimal. Did you know that many people who suffer from depression and continual angst have helped their symptoms by merely incorporating a workout routine in their life?
The answer to making you feel better, maybe within the power of your control. Just get up, get out, and get moving. You’ll release stress and get fitter for your effort.
2. Don’t Gorge on Junk Food
It’s difficult to stay on a healthy eating plan when you are cooped up in your home. During a pandemic, many people stress-eat, or they eat because they are bored. Don’t fall into this trap as it can be detrimental.
While most people don’t sit on the couch and binge on carrots and broccoli, it’s really a better choice. Avoid snack cakes, potato chips, sweet popcorns, and other junk food items. You can’t expect to feel good when you’re packing on the pounds from poor eating habits.
Remember, this pandemic will end, and you will need to contend with all the weight gain. Do yourself a favor and skip the snacking by trying to only eat meals from the table. It will help you to make better choices and avoid binge eating. Plus, your children are watching and eating alongside you.
3. Stick to A Daily Routine
If you have children, then you know the importance of a daily routine. When your schedule becomes disheveled, it can make you feel horrible. Have you ever slept too late on a Saturday morning and had a headache due to oversleeping?
Your body only needs 6-8 hours of sleep, and anything more than that can be counterproductive. While it may feel good initially to get that ten hours of shut-eye, it can cause you to feel miserable for the rest of the day. Try to stick to a schedule so that you can keep some normality in your days.
Additionally, if you have children in the home, you will appreciate keeping their schedule. It’s quite challenging to reprogram them once they have become accustomed to staying up late and sleeping the morning away. No matter how much you don’t want to get up, make sure you trade the pajamas for clothes, brush your teeth, wash your face, and put on your bravest smile as you face another day.
4. Get Out in The Sunshine
Being inside is good on cold and dreary days, but you need to get outside and enjoy Mother Nature as much as possible. There’s something about being in the fresh air and seeing all the beautiful creations that will help to heal mental angst.
If you are outside for just 20 minutes, it can help to boost your mood and your vitamin D levels. You were made for being outside among the gentle breezes and beautiful trees. If you want to keep depression at bay for you and your entire household, then get out from behind those four walls.
5. Take Some You Time to Release Stress
Everyone has specific things that help them to calm their mind and body. Is your special treat a bubble bath with candles all around, or do you prefer to sit on the bank casting a fishing line in the water? You need to make sure you have some time to be alone in the silence. Those tranquil moments will give you the ability to keep going.
When you live in a chaotic household that’s full of the hustle and bustle, you need to carve out a small space of time for your needs. Try to allow at least an hour a day for you to have alone time. It will help you to refocus and renew your mind, body, and soul.
6. Help Someone in Need
During a pandemic, there are all sorts of people that need help. You may have an elderly neighbor that can’t get out and go to the grocery store. They may be in a precarious position if they go out into the world with the threat of a virus looming.
You can forget about your agitation and anxiety when you do something beautiful for others. While you still need to practice safety measures, you should extend a hand to someone in need. You will find that your kind gesture will make you feel good, and it will be so welcomed to someone who truly needs help.
7. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Does your diet include drinks that are laden with sugar and caffeine? Soft drinks and coffee have high caffeine content, and they can make you feel worse than you already do. Caffeine is a drug that travels the same pathways in your brain as cocaine.
Unfortunately, caffeine speeds up your heart and can increase feelings of angst rather than making you feel better. If you must have these drinks, then try to limit them or switch to a noncaffeinated variety.
8. Turn on Those Tunes
Music has motivated the masses for centuries. Have you ever seen a snake handler playing the flute before they handle the snake? Music calms the reptile enough so that it can be handled.
When you play music, it can instantly change your entire mood. Put on some jamming tunes and dance. If you have children in the home, then have them join in on the dance party. It’s challenging to be glum when you’re rocking to your favorite tunes.
Meditation is an ancient art that has been used for thousands of years. It’s an Eastern tradition that helps a person to balance their tension. When you are meditating, you have slowed your breathing and are in control of your thoughts. You teach your body how to deal with the tension of the day.
When you control your breathing, you slow your heart rate, stop your racing mind, and ease your angst. Many people can gain control of their mental dilemmas by merely meditating for about ten minutes each day. Whenever you feel yourself start to get to an unhealthy place with your strain and tension, you should go to your quiet spot and meditate until you feel a peaceful calm.
10. Phone a Friend
During these uncertain times of the global pandemic, you can’t meet your friends for drinks or dinner. However, you can always pick up the phone and call someone to voice your frustrations. Most people have a person they can go to when the world seems cruel and unfair.
It’s going to take every ounce of strength you have to get through these times of isolation. It seems as if these shelter-in-place orders will never end. Having a robust support system will be the key to getting through this mentally unscathed.
If you prefer to have your connections in person more than over the phone, then you can use video chat or some other apps to connect face-to-face. Make the best of the technological resources you have to ensure you protect your sanity.
Final Thoughts: Release Stress During This Time in Your Life
Anxiety is a problem that affects more than 40 million Americans suffer from each day. When you add the uncertainty of a global pandemic and isolation to the mix, it can take you to a dark place very quickly. You don’t have to live in a state of gloom and doom and feel controlled by your emotions.
You have the power to pick yourself up and control your angst. Did you know that stress first begins in your perceptions? You can stop your body from going into that “fight-or-flight” response by using techniques to redirect your mind.
Everyone is struggling with the things going on in the world, but you can take charge of yourself and make it out of this trial unscathed. Perhaps, you might even learn a few things along the way.