The world has been turned upside down as a result of this global pandemic. No one is immune from its impact. Fear and worry are consuming waking hours, but that very feeling of panic can make you ill. Unrelenting stress compromises your immune system, so it is important to learn to manage stress, feel safer, and reduce anxiety.
Adapt Your Focus
Stop watching or listening to news reports all day. Doing so will keep your attention on fear and panic. Energy follows attention. Instead, take a break and focus on something positive: how cool it is that your kids are learning at home; that you have time to do projects around the house. You might create an at-home spa hour with a warm bath or take an online yoga class or go for a walk outdoors. Redirect your attention to something pleasurable.
Take notice of your breath as you inhale and exhale. Pause and take a deep sigh which will signal your nervous system to calm down. Take these “time-outs” throughout the day, especially at moments when you’re feeling tension.
Use Mindfulness and Meditation
We exist in our minds, and our egos are always figuring out worst-case scenarios for our protection and survival. However, when you live in your mind envisioning a catastrophic future, you sabotage your immediate ability to tap into resilience and wellbeing. So being aware of what you’re feeling and using meditation can help restore an important biological connection of mind and body and create a sense of peace.
As you’re reading this, are you okay? Notice your surroundings. Are you in danger at this moment? It’s easy to imagine what MIGHT happen but notice what IS happening right now. Notice what you’re feeling in your body. How do your feet feel? Legs? Arms? What are you smelling? Activate your five senses to notice what is apparent at this moment. Wash your hands and notice how the bubbles of soap look, how the water feels, how you’re taking care of yourself!
Find Time to Play
Active play stimulates your brain, reduces stress, improves creativity, and boosts your mood. “We don’t stop playing as we grow old; we stop moving as we grow old.” Play board games, online games, play charades with friends, sing, dance, draw, or build with building blocks (or toilet paper rolls)! Get out there and play!