Describing 2020 as a stressful year seems like somewhat of an understatement. If this year has taught us anything so far it is that we all need to be doing everything we can to help us manage our lives, our health, and our stress levels in a more effective manner. The COVID-19 pandemic is a harsh reality and with it showing no signs of slowing down or easing its grip on the world, it makes sense that we all try to find new ways of adapting our lives and looking at adopting better habits.
Many people have experienced higher anxiety levels due to all the uncertainty and worry of keeping safe during a global pandemic. After all, we have enough on our plates without the worry of how you are going to cope should you or a loved one contract the virus.
However, all the unknowns can cause undue stress and add to the already heavy mental load many people experience on a day to day basis. So how can you reduce stress levels and still make sure you are putting your health and mental wellbeing first in a world that has been turned upside down?
Being active isn’t going to make all of your worries go away. However, studies have shown that the release of endorphins after a good workout can help improve your mood and put you in a better position mentally to cope with day to day stress and any major worries you have.
The good thing about being active is it has many bonuses for your health and not only can it help sake the cobwebs away and help you get to grips with what is worrying you, but it can also improve your health and wellbeing too at the same time.
Keeping active keeps your body in good shape and you can be active in so many different ways. Even though it is tempting to curl up in a ball and shut the world out when your worries get too much. If you can take yourself outside for some fresh air and stroll around the block, that can be beneficial to your health. Aside from removing yourself from the stress and the situations causing the stress to help give you more focus and perspective, you can help counterbalance the physical sides of stress on your body too.
By relaxed, we mean really relaxed. Nothing was ever made better by piling on the stress and the higher your stress levels go, the worse everything will ultimately seem. To be able to focus and pinpoint what is causing you undue stress and worry you first need to find methods that will help you to relax. It is simply finding something that works for you.
- Meditation – find a quiet spot in your home where you can relax, put on some meditation music or guidance and really let yourself get lost in a space that is far away from all your worries.
- Mindfulness – the art of being present in the here and now. Clearing your mind to focus solely on one thing at a time is something that can take a while to fully master. Removing other stresses and issues from your mind to concentrate on the task at hand to be fully present to deal with it can help you overcome your problems. This is something that will take immense effort and practice to fully develop over time.
- Yoga – As we mentioned above, being physically active can help reduce stress levels, but yoga can not only help you stay active and flexible but provide you with a chance to slow down and remove all your cares as you focus on your breathing and the moves to help you regain your equilibrium.
Giving yourself a target can be a healthy way for you to release some built-up anxiety and tension from stress. We carry and cope with stress in different ways. Some people retreat inwards, cut off others, and simply look to deal with the issue in their own time and in their own way. Others thrive on being able to push through any problems and relish the fact they can break through stress by adapting to new techniques to help them cope.
Setting yourself goals, taking up new hobbies, sharing your worries with others can all be great ways to help you address what you are going through and find new ways to help you overcome stress in your life.
Take control of the situation and your life. Relinquishing your power and control can sometimes make the problem worse as you aren’t looking for ways to actively manage your stress levels or do anything to address them.
It may be that nothing you can do can take the stress from your life, but taking back control and actively looking for ways to deal with it can be empowering in itself.
AVOID BAD HABITS
Turning to habits you know are unhealthy for you in times of stress will lead to you feeling even worse about the situation. Instead of reaching for the alcohol, overeating, or indulging in other bad habits, look at ways you can avoid doing so. Do you turn to drink when you are overly stressed? Remove temptation from your home by not buying alcohol or distract yourself doing things that mean you can’t have a drink.
Filling your time with meaningful tasks that work to improve your mental health will help you to break bad habits and learn to effectively cope with stress easier. If you are unsure of how to do this alone, speak to your health practitioner or family and friends who can give you support to help you through tough times.