April 2, 2020
We understand. The news is scary. The stores are empty. There is no toilet paper. People are panicking. In times of uncertainty, it is easy to get overcome with stress. As we focus on protecting our physical health, it is also important to also care for our mental health. So, turn off the news and try these “social distance friendly” ways to manage stress.
Marya Wright, HCAT Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, shares her free and easy-to-do tips to reduce stress and anxiety.
You don’t need a gym to exercise. Do jumping jacks. Run in place. Find an at-home routine on YouTube. Just 20 minutes of exercise can reduce stress by up to 50%.
2. Go outside
Connect with nature in your backyard. Exposure to nature is proven to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones.
Pull out those old scented candles and inhale a calming scent. Studies show it can improve sleep and reduce anxiety.
Write down your negative thoughts then cross them out and replace them with positive thoughts. Write down the things that you are grateful for.
5. Listen to calming music.
Research shows that music can help you through your lowest moods.
Singing is proven to lower stress and increase endorphins.
Laughter helps you put things into perspective. Try googling for humorous memes or videos.
Email, call, or write a letter to a friend or family member. Connection helps relieve loneliness.
9. Pet your dog or cat
Studies show that petting an animal decreases stress hormones and increases serotonin production, the happiness neurotransmitter.
10. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is about living in the now. Sit and close your eyes. Take 5 slow deep breaths. Focus on your surroundings and identify 5 smells, 5 touches, 5 tastes, and 5 sounds.
Coloring is an easy alternative to meditation.
12. Practice Yoga
Yoga improves mood, releases body tension, and lessens anxiety and depression.
13. Limit alcohol and caffeine
Both increase stress.
14. Prioritize sleep
Stress increases the body’s need to recharge.
15. Accept the things you cannot change