• Apr 14, 2020
  • Kristie LaTray

So you're stressed! The uncertainties of life are an easy pathway to be stressed out. Dealing with COVID-19 is enough reason to stress. Stress is an ugly thing no matter how you look at it, and it breaks down that once beautiful body from the inside out. Stress makes it harder for our body to function normally and weakens our immune system responses making us more susceptible to getting sick. Stress can make our skin become dull and break out, our hair and nails thin & brittle, and even make us constipated. As if that's not bad enough, stress can make us lash out at the ones we love. It is a slow killer of ourselves and our relationships.

COVID-19 has caused nations to be fearful and more stressed out than ever. It's time to take control of what we can, and do something to save ourselves and our relationships. The only way to change is to ACCEPT the problem, stress. IDENTIFY how you want to feel. And REPLACE the problem, STRESS, with behaviors that help you solve it. Dig in and acknowledge why you are stressed, more than likely it's hiding behind a fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of losing income, fear of getting sick, fear of being out of control, fear of not being good enough etc.

We don't have to let fear run our lives and stress doesn't have to be a norm in our lives. There are a ton of ways to manage stress, but here are my top 10 ways to stop being stressed, even for a moment. Mindfulness is the bedrock of them all. FACT: When we are present and focus not on the future or the past, we are powerful. We can control our thoughts, feelings, actions, and behaviors right now.  Here are 10 ways to manage your stress and stay present, longer.

  1. Stretch/Yoga - Have you noticed how your body feels tight and tense when you are stressed? Maybe it's a stiff neck or maybe it's pain in your shoulders or perhaps your back. Stress can manifest in any area of your body. Stretching and yoga create a pathway to physically release stress.
  2. Meditation - There are so many ways to meditate and meditation has many benefits including stress reduction. One of the simplest things you can do is sit in a comfortable position, doesn't have to be on the floor like a yogi, close your eyes and take a slow deep breath in, followed by a slow deep breath out. Count each inhale/exhale set as 1, and count 10 full breaths. Notice how you feel afterwards and keep going as long as needed to relax your body and mind.
  3. Nature - Get in nature, if possible. Go outside and feel the sunshine, rain, wind or whatever you fancy, on your skin. Look at the sky, trees, grass, sand, mountains, river, creek, sea, or whatever you have available to you. Allow yourself to marvel at nature.
  4. Good Deeds - Ever notice how you can get out of your own funk by helping others? This can be as simple as giving someone a call and letting them know they are loved and you were thinking about them. 
  5. Exercise - Be intentional about your exercise, be mindful. This is not the time to catch up on your reading but a time to tune in to your body and celebrate how far it has brought you and all that it is capable of in this moment.  Affirmations are always welcome.
  6. Physical Touch - But what about COVID-19??? Yes, maintain social distancing from people and animals outside your household, but what about those who are in your household? Enjoy physical touch of your loved ones, human or furry. Live alone & no pets? Well, enjoy yourself. ;-)
  7. Play - Playing keeps us feeling light, youthful and happy. We are never too old to play. Challenge yourself and play, be it virtually or in person, with a human or a fur ball. 
  8. Laughter - Did you know laughter has health benefits? It can reduce stress, relax the body,  release endorphins and even burn calories! I'm laughing from now on!
  9. Gratitude Bath w/ Candles - Being grateful is an entire mood. Relaxing in a tub of water so hot you have to ease in, with epsom salt and a few drops of lavender just may be what your tense body and racing brain need to get in the mood to be grateful. If you have the resources to make a candle lit, essential oil bath happen, that's reason enough to be grateful. :-)
  10. Sing and Dance! Wait what? Yes, play your favorite song, loud and sing or fumble through all the words and dance like no one or everyone, depending on your personality, is watching! Much like laughing, dancing can release those feel good endorphins and singing can spark a physical release of tension in your body as well as give you a sneaky ab workout if you sing from your diaphragm. What are you waiting for? Press play and put it on repeat.