Right now, many of us are feeling extraordinarily stressed. The kids are home but you have a job that requires you to go in and work. The trip you have planned for the summer is on hold because the airline has cut back on flights, or that cruise you've dreamed of is on hold.
I just found out they are eliminating all passenger flights from my local airport until May 1st. Only cargo and medical are allowed on the flights so I'm pretty much stuck here for the next 6 weeks.
It is stressful seeing the numbers climb higher while the local and state government are telling you to stay home, avoid being with other people and now you are expected to make sure your kids do their school work they are getting at home. We need to practice stress relief so we can handle this situation better.
Exercise is considered one of the best ways to relieve stress. When you exercise, you are lowering certain stress hormones such as cortisol and it releases endorphins that improve your mood and exercise can help you sleep better at night. Sometimes it just isn't possible to get outside with the social distancing restrictions, but one can use videos from YouTube or Amazon Prime to exercise to. I have a collection of videos I alternate between to get a well balanced workout every week.
Consider lighting a scented candle or releasing essential oils into the room to create a relaxing atmosphere. Some recommended scents include Lavender, Rose, Orange blossom or ylang ylang. The idea behind the scents is that they help people relax by lowering anxiety and improve your ability to sleep.
Begin keeping a journal where you identify things you are grateful for. When you list the things you are grateful for, you are focusing on the positive rather than the negative and it helps decrease your anxiety. Some people suggest, you write down what you are anxious about but that can make certain people more stressed and that's why focusing on the positive is better.
Find some videos on Youtube or TicTok that make you laugh. It is said that laughter is the best medicine and research has shown that laughter can help release stress and anxiety while making you feel better.
Don't be afraid to put on some happy type music to enjoy in your house. It is suggested people listen to slow paced instrumental music because it can lower stress hormones but it has also been found that if the music makes you happy, it is equally effective at lowering stress. I love listening to music from the 1960's because it always makes me want to dance and move around.
Another activity recommended to help lower stress is to practice deep breathing and mindfulness. Deep breathing can help release anxiety and slow your heart beat so you feel much more relaxed. The mindfulness keeps you focused more on the positive rather than the negative and helps keep you anchored in the moment rather than in what ifs.
Finally, go spend time with your pet if you have one. Pets snuggle and love you for being you and they help your body release a hormone to make you feel better.
At work, we've been told not to work past quitting time, spend time on ourselves, and take time to relax. In addition, to exercise, I've begun reading more, added in coloring, and I try to dance at least 20 minutes every day. This time of uncertainty is going to last a while so we need to get into the habit of putting ourselves first sometimes. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.