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If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, then you aren’t alone. According to an American Psychological Association Stress in the Time of COVID-19 report, about 7 in 10 Americans report this is the most stressful point in the nation’s history they can remember.
What we are experiencing in the US is not unique, and the entire world is struggling to cope. It’s more challenging than ever when we are isolated from our usual support group as a result of social distancing.
If you don’t take time for yourself, then you can’t be there for anyone else. Here are three tools that I have used to cope:
Meditation helps to train your attention. I meditate regularly, and it helps me focus on what is essential in the moment and be more intentional. According to the National Institute of Health, meditation helps ease the symptoms of anxiety or depression. Often I feel caught up or overwhelmed by stress, and it is challenging to gain perspective and center myself. Meditation is an excellent way to quiet the mind and re-center and a tool for stress management.
Meditation doesn’t require equipment or even sitting still. You could be walking your dog, driving somewhere, etc.
There are numerous apps designed to help guide meditation. I use Peloton and Headspace for meditation, but there are plenty of free resources. It’s useful for all ages, including kids, which can be helpful when they are having difficulty focusing.
If I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious, music can help. Music soothes me, especially jazz, with it’s layering of instruments and beats. When I need to focus on a complicated task or if I’m frustrated, I listen to John Coltrane or Kamasi Washington. Music can help you relax in challenging situations or improve your quality of sleep (Harvard Health Publishing).
If you aren’t sure what type of music is right for you, check out a streaming service or reach out to a friend. Music is a great way to connect with loved ones. Is there a type of music that you listen to that soothes you? How often do you listen to music to help you cope with stress?
Whether I’m taking a spin class or practicing yoga, exercising is an essential part of stress management for me. As a bonus, exercise causes a rush of endorphins, which makes you happy! It can fuel your brain’s stress buffers, too.
Our schedules can be chaotic and overwhelming at times, and self-care is often pushed to the side. I’m guilty of this myself, but I try and exercise in the morning to make time. We need to recharge so we can be our best selves.
I would encourage you to take a few moments each day and be intentional in your self-care. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Try meditation for a week and see if it helps. I would suggest focusing on a specific area you may be struggling with, such as relaxation, fitness motivation, mindfulness, etc. There are mantra meditation exercises or sleep meditations you can explore. There are no set time limits, so try them for a few minutes to start and see how you feel.
- Experiment with music while you work or exercise. Find the genre or artist that centers you, helps you focus or gets you moving.
- Find an exercise that you enjoy. It could be running, walking your dog, hiking, or trying a new dance cardio class. Start small and work towards a goal. I enjoy taking the time to listen to a new podcast, audio book or try a new fitness app.
As part of OswaldThrives wellness program, we are a proud partner of the SparkCities 2020 Fit City Challenge Series, a free interactive challenge to help individuals and companies become fit and healthy by tracking daily fitness minutes. Learn more.
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