Leily L Sanchez
Stress Management Exercises
COVID-19 has changed our lives in unexpected ways. Sudden change can add stress. This post provides exercises and tips on how to manage stress healthily as well as a downloadable PDF with exercises.
The last couple of weeks have gone by in what feels like months. The new developments that are announced everyday can feel overwhelming. Whether you are working from home, job searching, a student, or any combination, this new reality that we find ourselves in is unprecedented and unexpected.
Finding yourself facing the unknown and experiencing sudden life changes can significantly increase your stress.
Stress can affect your sleep, you immune system, and you mental wellness. For those of us that thrive and experience reduced stressed in social settings, this time can be especially challenging. You can find exercises and tips for stress management in the stress PDF available on this page.
Stress Management Tips:
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a way to check in with yourself. To check you thoughts, emotions, and sensations. It is good to check in with yourself periodically. If you are sitting for long stretches of time, you might find checking in on your bodily sensations is particularly helpful. Perhaps your posture is hurting your back or your legs need a nice stretch.
It is important to check in with ourselves emotionally. Mindfulness is a judgement free awareness of these thoughts and emotions that might be surfacing for us. Don't label them as negative, just allow yourself to feel them for a moment so that you can ready yourself to replace with a more productive and less stressful emotion.
2. Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises can help ground you. If you are having a hard time concentrating at your tasks at hand. My favorite is uneven breathing. In this exercise, you inhale for 2 counts and exhale for 4 counts, inhale for 3 counts and exhale for 6 counts, inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 8 counts, inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 10 counts. Repeat backwards starting at the 5-count inhale. You can try other exercises in the stress PDF available here.
Meditation has many proven benefits for our mental well-being. During periods of high stress, meditation can relax your body and your mind, freeing you of tension and negative though patterns. For free resources for all levels, You can access free resources for all levels of practice in my blog post of Free COVID-19 resources in the "Health and Wellness" section.
Exercise can improve your mental health, help you relax, get better sleep, increase your energy levels, and of course, exercise has a lot of physical benefits as well. In just 30 minutes you can reap the benefits of exercise and you don't need weights or equipment if you don't have any at home! You can access free resources for all exercise levels and equipment in my blog post of Free COVID-19 resources in the "Health and Wellness" section.
At this time, there is much uncertainty but I hope that the tips above and the resources in the "Health and Wellness" section of my previous post will help you find some respite, some comfort. I often find myself worried about friends, family, and sympathizing with everyone affected. It can be very hard to cope. But being able to acknowledge those worries and then disconnecting from them healthily, can greatly benefit your mental health.
Another way to help manage stress is by crafting a daily routine. For tips on how to create a daily routine, read my post Creating a Routine During COVID-19.