In the height of what seems like endless uncertainty and chaos, it is difficult to remember to prioritize mental health. When societal aspects of life change (such as embracing social distancing), it is critical to remain calm and relieve stress/anxiety whenever possible.
Simple, at home remedies to combat stress are important during this time. This can be done through exercise, meditation/mindfulness and spending time doing something you love.
Stress relief through exercise
Getting your body in motion is beneficial for you physically and mentally! According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), exercise has been found “effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function.”
The reason people tend to feel better after exercising is due to the body’s release of endorphins. These are chemicals in the brain, known as neurotransmitters.
Essentially, endorphins act as a naturally occurring form of painkillers. So, when you exercise, endorphins are released and feelings of stress, anxiety or other mental pains are decreased.
Any form of exercise “counts” and allows the release of endorphins! This can be done in fast-paced exercising such as long distance running. It can also occur in aerobic exercises such as yoga and stretching.
Mindfulness & meditation
In addition to yoga, or in lieu of exercising, practicing mindfulness has been linked to decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety. When you meditate or practice mindfulness, your body and mind tune out the energy that surrounds you.
By doing this, you can focus on your breathing and forget about the feelings of stress and anxiety. Clearing your mind allows you to be hyper-aware of what is going on mentally and physically.
According to the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center at the University of Washington, mindfulness includes the following elements:
These elements, and mindfulness as a whole has been found to ease mental/psychological feelings of stress, anxiety and pain. As a result, mindfulness helps to improve mood and overall brain function.
Focus your energies elsewhere
Sometimes, taking a break is all you need. Spending your time doing things you love allows you to get your mind off of the stressors in your life.
Here are some things to do in your free time to take your mind off of what is causing you stress:
- Read a book
- Catch up on a new show
- Get into the kitchen and try a new recipe
- Pick up a new skill or craft
- Start a blog or journal
In times of uncertainty and chaos, finding things to occupy your time with can be very helpful. Instead of channeling your energy into areas that cause more stress, spend your days focusing on the things you love.
One extremely important way to combat stress and anxiety is to talk to someone. Whether that be connecting with friends, family or a therapist.
Surrounding yourself with people who lift you up in difficult times is critical. We urge you to connect with others around you in times of need, because human connection and communication is important.
While this is not a comprehensive list of stress relieving tips, these are some of the most adopted techniques. As always, we recommend trying different things out and seeing what best fits your personal needs!