Tips for Boosting Self-care and Easing Stress During Stressful Times
Tips for Boosting Self-care and Easing Stress During Stressful Times
Nobody gave us a pandemic response playbook, so we’ve been scrambling to adjust to what the German philosopher, Karl Barth, referred to as today’s new living reality (Heutigkeit). Sure, there are perks to self-isolating at home and living in a perpetual state of ‘Today-ness;’ and the entire country seems to be responding quite admirably. But the reality is, on a personal level, it’s stressful trying to protect ourselves and our loved ones every hour of every day, while working from home and homeschooling children. In spite of a gradual relaxing of restrictions, March and April might have been a dress rehearsal for what might occur during the month of May.
We also turned to some of WEforum’s seasoned Wellness Ambassadors and asked them to share their personal methods for managing stress and the anxiety that comes from self-isolating at home while also running a household.
With all the uncertainty in the world today, it’s important to quiet the mind. Try setting a mantra so you can bring your mind and your energy back to yourself. I like to take multiple breaks per day, like when I first wake up, in the middle of my day, and right before I go to bed. At bedtime, I place one hand on my heart and the other on my belly. I focus on breathing slowly and naturally feeling my hands moving up and down on the inhale and exhale.
Some people like to meditate in other ways, for instance while walking outside, or while coloring and doodling. You may even use shapes, like a mandala-circle shape, as a tool to focus on to relax the mind. Or while walking outside looking for heart shaped rocks. While on the beach searching for sea glass. There are many ways to clear the chatter. These are all great techniques for kids too.
For me, personally, I am trying to stay positive and be thankful for the health of my family and the blessings of being together. There’s been so much peace, in the midst of this horrible situation, and it’s a blessing having everyone together. We aren’t expected to be anywhere or do anything. Calmness. Connecting with my husband. Daily walks and connecting with nature. Meaningful conversations with my boys.
I have also been embracing projects. We all just painted our shed. One of my favorite ways of staying happy and grounded, practicing mindfulness, and escaping the dreadful news of the pandemic, has been by embracing the pure joy of Gardening.
Personally, I am doing my best to stay positive by focusing on what I can do, what I do have, what I can control, and what I am grateful for.
My advice is to get outside and walk or run every day, do body weight exercise at home, take deep breaths, stretch daily, be aware of your postures, and emphasize the importance of self-care , especially in times of stress/crisis. Be mindful of what you are eating. Now is a great time to create new, healthy habits. I believe the healthier we are, the better our chances of combating any illness that befalls us. Keeping that in mind helps me stay committed to healthy eating and exercise and a positive grateful mental attitude.
Take the time to build resilience, not just so you can feel safe now, during a pandemic, but moving forward as well. Develop your immune system and learn to control stress. Resilience requires a strong immune system. The problem, the Standard American Diet (SAD) and a high stress lifestyle do not support a healthy immune system and consequently, resilience is low. I feel it too these days. I move quickly through the grocery store wearing my mask and gloves and I have not hugged my 90-year-old mother in 6 weeks. This quarantine is an opportunity to focus on areas of our lives that need attention.
First, sound nutrition is an imperative. Find the right food and supplements for your genetics in order to support your individual needs. Second, exercise in ways that promote stability. And third, take the time to nurture and care for your mind and soul. What you think about and focus on will become your reality.
Read more below!
More from Karen Campi
We grow organic fruits and vegetables through both traditional soil gardening (when in season) as well as through aeroponic gardens. The Tower Garden can be used indoors with LED grow lights, allowing for year-round growing. Now more than ever, I am grateful that I can provide organic, nutrient-dense, fresh produce for my family, and significantly limit my need to go to the food store.
We know in theory that nature brings us peace, and now more than ever we all need a good dose of it. I grew up gardening with my parents and have wonderful memories of growing our own food. Gardening has provided a huge source of homegrown produce for my family over the past years. There is an emotional connection to your food when you grow it yourself. Not only is it a unique experience from the time you plant a seed to putting it on the dinner table, but it is also a tremendous learning experience for all of the children: not to mention physical exercise and fresh air for anyone who’s been cooped up in the house.
We grow organic fruits and vegetables through both traditional soil gardening (when in season) as well as through aeroponic gardens. The Tower Garden can be used indoors with LED grow lights, allowing for year-round growing. Now more than ever, I am grateful that I can provide organic, nutrient-dense, fresh produce for my family, and significantly limit my need to go to the food store. In light of what is happening now with COVID-19 and past E. coli breakouts, it gives me tremendous peace of mind knowing that the food we grow ourselves is clean, safe and more affordable. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are essential in building a strong immune system, which we definitely need now more than ever.
Being able to grab fresh spinach, kale, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. right from the garden and use them in our meals is such a rewarding feeling. I take great pride in what I’m able to produce and take tremendous joy from the daily routine of maintaining my gardens. When you connect with the earth there are numerous health benefits that I’ve experienced first hand. Reduced stress, increased self-confidence, better sleep, and improved heart health, are just a few. When it comes to home gardening, some people may feel overwhelmed or feel that it may be too much work to start, but I want to encourage everyone that it can be done, and it’s not as hard as you may think!
More from Karyn Marshall
My name is Dr. Karyn Marshall. I am co-owner of Champion Health, a multidisciplinary health care office. I am a Chiropractor. We also have Acupuncture, Strawberry LipoLaser, and Regenerative Medicine. My partner, Dr. Dennis Cronk and I have been serving our community for 26 years in Shrewsbury, NJ.
As far as my work, that involves being there for my patients and showing up to work every day. I would rather be at work doing what I love to help others and take a burden off the health care system. We are keeping the office as safe as possible for all: wearing masks and gloves, taking temperatures, asking about symptoms, following all safety procedures, disinfecting like never before and spacing out appointments.
While many are just too concerned to come in right now, the patients who do come in are grateful that we are open for them! They are stressed for many reasons, their bodies are doing things they are not used to: working in new environments at home in less than optimal ergonomic settings, and sitting for prolonged periods of time. This is leading to new aches and pains. Many are exercising less, eating more and barely coping with a new reality many of us are not equipped to handle.
More from Pam Wilson
Leonardo da Vinci believed the soul resided in the heart; he may have been right! Forty years of research has revealed approximately 40,000 specialized nerve cells within the heart which send more signals to the brain then it receives from the brain. Our heart does not beat steady like a metronome, rather, it has an irregular rhythm called heart rate variability (HRV). When you focus on positive thoughts and emotions (love, joy, happiness) your heart rhythm becomes very orderly, when your thoughts and emotion are negative (hate, anger, frustration) it becomes erratic. Learning how to bring your heart and brain into a state of coherence where the brain waves are in harmony with the heart rhythm creates a state of both mental and physical resilience.
There are 3 key components of resilience that I have identified over my 30+ years in private practice. First, sound nutrition to support your individual needs, the right food for your genetics and the correct supplements based upon lab testing. Second, proper physical movement with attention to stability and intensity. And third, taking time to nurture and care for your mind and soul, for what you think about and focus on will become your reality.
Let us view this quarantine as an opportunity to focus on areas of our lives that need attention. Personally, focusing on the third component, I am practicing the techniques of heart brain coherence to achieve a greater state of resilience.