stressed African american mom

Managing Stress Associated with the COVID-19 Virus

Finding ways to manage stress in this time of COVID-19 uncertainty is critical to help us cope. It’s good to have a variety of ways to calm ourselves and regain control over our thoughts and actions.

Here are 5 ways to cope with how your feeling.

Breathe

Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. 

The great things about deep breathing techniques are that no one will know you’re doing them, it requires no special equipment and you can practice 

anytime. 

Here are a few deep breathing exercises to try:

  1. Breathe in through your nose and watch your belly fill with air. Count slowly to three as you inhale. Hold for one second and then slowly breathe out through your nose as you count to three again.
  2. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 5.  Exhale through your mouth for a count of 5. 

Many of us are not aware that we breathe shallow or even hold our breath, from time to time.  Breathing is so automatic were unconsciously barely breathe. Deep breathing will help you be present and relax.

Netflix & Laugh

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being.  Laughter also lowers cortisol. Your body’s stress hormone.  

Comedy is a great way to relieve stress and shift how you feel.  The options available are endless. YouTube, podcast, audiobooks, Netflix,  Spotify, the list goes on and on. Find your new favorites and use laughter as one of the strategies you use to help relieve your stress.

Meditate

Stress triggers the body’s fight or flight response.  Meditation affects the body in the opposite way by triggering the body’s relaxation response. It restores the body to a calm state, helping the body repair itself and preventing new damage from the physical effects of stress. 

Regular meditation practice has many benefits:

  • Recover from stressful situations more easily
  • Experience less stress from daily challenges
  • Increased positive mood results in more resilience to stress.  

Meditation can instill a sense of calm, peace, and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health.

Stretch Your Legs

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to manage stress. Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones (cortisol, again).  Exercise also helps release endorphins, the chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.  

Here are some ways to add movement to your daily routine (be sure to follow social distancing guidelines:

  • Participate in online exercise classes on YouTube, FaceBook, even our local libraries
  • Take a walk 
  • Take the stairs – if able walk a few flights of stairs twice a day
  • Walk your dog – if you have one – twice a day
  • Do stretches while your cooking – doing squats and stretches while your stirring and waiting for your meal to cook

When you’re feeling restless or anxious get up and stretch your legs.  The movement of your body will help relieve that nervous energy and bring about a more centered and peaceful feeling and mindset.

stress management

Freezer Friendly Meals

Eating a healthy diet is an important part of taking care of yourself. Aim to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.  When we are stressed it may be difficult to gather the energy to eat well. It’s a catch 22.

If we don’t eat well we won’t have the energy to deal with our stress.  One of the solutions to that problem is to create meals that freeze well. Even when you don’t feel like cooking you can take the meal out of the freezer and in 20 minutes or so, you are getting the nutrition you need to stay strong and positive.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada’s are a delicious freezer-friendly meal.  This 100 % delicious plant-based meal is filling, freezes well, and is full of immunity-building ingredients.

Managing our stress and anxiety will be a key skill we will all have to practice and get really good at as we venture through this journey.  These 5 Ways to Manage your Stress can help build your resilience and help you gain control and perspective. 

As mentioned, I’m sharing my recipe for Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas.

Go here to access it, bit.ly/vegan-sweet-potato-black-bean-enchilada

Link for Deep Breathing Exercises

www.healthline.com/health/breathing-exercise

Links for Meditation Sites

Mindful Movement

Headspace

www.youtube.com/user/Getsomeheadspace

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