6 Ways to Reduce Stress and Find Balance
As the COVID-19 virus spreads across the world, more people are experiencing more stress than normal. We are having to adjust to a new way of living. Working from home has taken on new meaning, especially if you have children and the additional responsibilities of home-schooling. I don’t know about you but lately I feel like I’m having to plan my grocery trip like it’s some sort of "covert operation". First, we decide who in the household is going to step up to the plate and make the trip to the store. Next, we physically map out where things are based on our list so we can get in and out within a short amount of time. And if you are the lucky one who gets to be in the store, you also have the stress of keeping your "social distance" within each aisle and checkout.
No wonder the average person is stressed. Just know, you are not alone, and stress is a normal reaction. Stress is a hardwired survival technique built into our bodies as a means of protection. When triggers arise, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) sends the “fight or flight response” signal to our brains, which mobilizes our bodies to do something to avoid danger.
The issue is that the body doesn’t know the difference between say a bear chasing you or work-related anxiety. Your body’s stress response is perfectly healthy when there’s a real emergency (like a bear chase). But, if your body is constantly getting stress signals for everyday issues (worry about COVID-19, home-schooling, work-related anxiety or stressed about lack of toilet paper), you’ll burn out over time. This chronic stress can disrupt the natural balance of the body required for optimal health, and it can also speed up the aging process and increase the body’s susceptibility to illness.
Here are six helpful tips that can reduce stress and bring balance into your life.
Practice calming activities like meditation and light movement, such as restorative yoga. Restorative yoga provides both physical and mental balance to prevent stress and anxiety. Props are used extensively to support your body so you can hold poses for longer periods of time, giving you all the benefits of deep, passive stretching.
Organize your work and living spaces to be clutter-free, to create a peaceful environment. A cluttered environment can make your brain less effective at processing information — and more prone to frustration, which leads to stress. Taking time out to organize your space may save time by allowing you to work more efficiently and be less stressed.
Stay organized by using a daily or weekly planner. If you have a schedule where everything fits, you’ll be more efficient with your time. Not only will this work for you but also your family. You can relax knowing that you’ll get things done and that you are focusing on what you should be doing. This is invaluable in maintaining balance in your life. There are several online time management tools to help you get organized. Personally, I like to use Google Calendar to keep everything in one place.
Delegate to others when needed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Children are capable of housework, and if encouraged properly, may get a sense of pride in doing the work. Have a conversation with your spouse or family member to help ease the burden of home schooling, cooking, or other home chores. And if necessary, hire help – gardeners and virtual personal assistants count as delegation.
Try writing down your thoughts and start a journal. Write down any thoughts, feelings, or ideas you may be experiencing. Journaling can help you work through something private without feeling judged and allow you to self-reflect.
Take time for yourself. Taking a break during the day isn’t only acceptable, it is recommended. Sometimes you just need to step away from what you're doing or dealing with and get some air. Taking a 10-minute walk can help clear your head and improve your ability to deal with stress and make good decisions.
Staying inside, practicing social distancing and working from home, you may not realize how much your physical activity has been reduced. While you may not be able to visit the gym, our certified fitness trainer is available for you online, by phone and through social media to keep you moving.
Don’t let stress stand in the way of your health and happiness. If you are persistently feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or stress, it may be time to reach out and ask for help. IIN Health Coach, Jackie Day, takes a comprehensive and holistic approach towards wellness, by addressing and establishing balance with the many influences in your life. Whether your goal is to boost your energy, decrease stress, improve sleep, address poor nutrition choices, or manage your weight better, we will work together to create a customized Healthy Living program to support you. Are you ready to start transforming your life and health? Sign up today for a complimentary consultation.