While a global pandemic sweeps through our nation – and across the world – there is plenty to feel stressed about.
There is no shortage of stress-inducing realities that we are all facing, and it’s looking like this will be the case for the foreseeable future, at the very least.
So, it’s time to explore some easy stress relievers while we are locked in our homes with limited human contact in an effort to keep our shit together, our attitudes positive, and our outlook on each day better than the day before.
Take it SlowMost important thing for us anxious, oft-worried people is to just take is slow.Deep breaths and relaxation remain unrivaled. But it’s easier said than done. Anyone with real anxiety knows that. Just never turn your back on the basics. The faster we realize we need to gain control to handle what comes at us, the easier everything else becomes. Remember to take it slow and think of the big picture.
Take Breaks from Watching the News
We all want to stay up to date on the current situation to ensure we have the facts and know what we can truly expect. But there has to be a saturation point. In these trying times, that’s probably not the healthiest choice.
Take a Trip on Foot (With or Without the Dog)
This is an easy one. There are a lot of things we are currently not allowed to do. Thankfully, walking outside is not one of them. So long as we keep our 6-foot distance from others, we are more than welcomed to get outside, get some fresh air while we take a quick run or walk the dog, and simply get in touch with the basics of life.
Clean the House
If you’re like me, working in chaos is second nature. But working in a mess is a nightmare. And that, my friends, is one of the biggest dilemmas for working from home, at least for me. I find it hard to get in the zone if I’m sitting among dirty dishes, clothes that need to be put away, and piles of unnecessary toys that my 3-year-old leaves laying around always. So, I pick them up. I’m a lucky one in that cleaning is therapeutic to me. So, this helps in a multitude of ways.
Talk to Friends & Family
As we now know, social distancing is not easy. It’s a fun joke or punchline when we bail on our friends (maybe even several times) to claim that we just want to be home alone in our pajamas. But being forced to stay in our homes and overthinking everything we touch for the small periods we actually leave (at the grocery store, gas station, bank, etc.) is no way to navigate life. We need to keep communicating with the outside world while we can, too.
We may not see these people (in person) for a couple more weeks, but we can connect with them in some capacity and keep things familiar with relative ease.
Start a Journal
As a journalist at heart, this is a no-brainier for me. But, like most of these alternatives, what works for me may not work for others. I’m just trying to provide some ideas; take what you’d like and modify as needed.
I typically don’t keep a journal or diary, but when I do revisit old notes from certain periods of my life, I’m always intrigued. To be able to look back at a period of life and recite your thoughts is a strong, impactful way to remember the past.
Pictures are great, but written dialogue (especially when written and read by the same person) has incredible power. It also offers some peace of mind and sanity.
I don’t personally meditate, but many friends and coworkers do, and swear by it.It’s on the list of things I will certainly explore during this strange time. But meditation, along with breathing and mental-awareness exercises, are sure winners as ways to reduce stress by definition.
Indulge in Satisfaction… But Work Toward It as a Reward
Another big one that seems pretty easy but may be overlooked is rewarding yourself with some of the finer things in life. A lot of us have been joking on social media about how we are going to be fat after this quarantining period is over with.
And I’m not saying it’s wrong. Staying sane for the next few weeks may come with a few extra pounds when we are allowed to come out of our houses. I’ll take it.
Some of my favorite “rewards” are ice cream, chocolate, Swedish Fish – even non-edibles like video games and other time-out pleasurables that help us feel good but should probably be indulged in at a regulated pace.
Catch Up With Yourself & Life
I have long said that I need 36 hours in a day to get even half of the things done I would like to in one day. Life moves fast. I tend to, too.
But this mandatory slow-down time has allowed me to get a lot of my messy life elements in order. I’ve caught up on my mail. My house is clean. My laundry is done.
There is something to be said for having order in life that helps with a positive outlook.
Enjoy a Hobby – Any Way Possible
Face it. We don’t get enough time to enjoy the things we love. Even if we actually do. We’ll say we don’t. That’s why they are the things we love! In this period of social distancing, doing more of what we love is critical.
Most of us have hobbies we like but just don’t get to do as much as we’d like. It could be painting, drawing, knitting, writing, reading, making music, or a million other things. Whatever you enjoy and makes you happy is the right answer here.
Sharpen Your Skill set
We live in a world where knowledge is very much available, and usually for free. And knowledge is power. Been meaning to teach yourself how to code? How to play the guitar? Learn a new language?
Now is the time.
Do What Works for You
Some things work for some people and others work for other people. The important thing to remember is not everything works the same for everyone. Finding what works well for you is one of, if not the, most important element to keeping your mind right in these times. There are many uncertainties that exist in this unsure time.
One thing we all certainly need is to keep our cool.