Stress Management during Covid Times
Stress is our body’s reaction to situations or events that put pressure on us. With our fast paced lives that are constantly growing at a rapid pace, stress is inevitable. Stress can come from work pressure, family issues, financial troubles or the inability to cope with too many demands at one time. Add to it the COVID-19 pandemic and it is a recipe for disaster. While eliminating these situations is not entirely possible, what can we do to manage stress effectively?
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to relax your mind. Exercise reduces the levels of the body's stress hormones like cortisol and produces endorphins, the “feel-good” hormone. So when you do a good aerobic workout you feel exhilarated and your mood improves. Physical activity also takes your mind off your worries as you are focused on your body rather than mind. The best part about this is that there are so many different forms of activity to choose from to keep it exciting; so pick up a tennis racket, go for a run or join a virtual Zumba class.
Just a few minutes of deep breathing can quiet the mind and bring about a sense of peace. When we experience stress, our bodies go into fight or flight mode. Prolonged stress can damage the body. Meditation triggers the body's relaxation response, restoring it to a calm state. Regular practice of meditation allows one to recover from stressful situations more easily. There are numerous apps that make it easy to get into the zone. Try Calm or Headspace.
3. Spend time with loved ones
Physical touch is very helpful in reducing stress. Hugging a loved one produces oxytocin, the hormone responsible for causing a reduction in blood pressure and the stress hormone norepinephrine. Therefore hugging actually reduces stress. Also, talking things through with a friend helps to put things into perspective and maybe even find solutions to problems. And most importantly, laughing with someone can instantly put us in a much better mood.
4. Pick up a hobby
Hobbies provide a break from responsibilities and give us an outlet to do something we enjoy. Research shows that spending time on a hobby is effective in managing stress; engaging in a creative activity leads to an increase in wellbeing. We may feel that we are too busy to have fun but taking time out for leisure activities makes us feel better and the better we feel, the better we are able perform and cope with life’s responsibilities. So now would be a good time to pick up a paintbrush or finally learn how to play the guitar.
5. Pamper yourself
For a quick fix, get a relaxing massage with lavender oil or a mani-pedi. Better yet, get out the scented soaps and candles and soak in a bubble bath till you feel all your worries melt away.
If you manage just 2 out of the 5 above, I promise that you are well on your way to say bye to that stress!