3 Simple Things That Can Help you Stay Grounded During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
The COVID-19 Pandemic has significantly changed the lives of most people both professionally and personally. It has caused many to feel anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed. While many things related to the pandemic are out of our control, there are a few things we can do for ourselves that can help lessen the negative impact on our lives. The following are 3 simple things you can do starting right now to feel better.
Practice breathing exercises: When we have a stress response our heart rate increases; muscles get tight and breathing becomes shallow and rapid. To counter this effect we can induce a relaxation response by slowing our breathing down. To do that, put a hand on your stomach and breath in slowly for 4 seconds from your nose, hold for four seconds, and exhale from your mouth for four seconds. Repeat for 2-5 minutes. Research has shown that just doing these breathing exercises a few times a day can significantly reduce stress and anxiety.
2. Limit Social Media & News.
While there are many positive aspects of social media, the negative impacts can have a profound effect on our mental well-being. It's important to be able to audit our social media diet and evaluate if what we are taking in is good for us. Just ask yourself a few questions. Does the social media I look at add to my well-being? Am I partaking because it genuinely interests me? Do I consume responsibly and safely?
The news media that we take in on a daily has an impact on our thinking, behavior, and our emotions. If you watch the news regularly there is a lot of news on the COVID-19 situation locally and nationally. Staying up to date on health updates and mandates is important but overindulging in all the negative can have a great impact on our overall well-being. With that in mind, the goal is to find the balance between feeling informed and educated on the situation at hand while not becoming totally overwhelmed by it.
Being physically active is not only good for our body but it can have a great effect on our overall mental wellbeing. With as little as 20 minutes a day, the benefits for well being are well documented. Exercise can change the brain in very positive ways including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases powerful chemicals in your brain called endorphins that can lift your spirits and make you feel good. It can also reduce anxiety and stress. Exercise can also serve as a healthy distraction to break away from negative thoughts and feelings. Whatever exercise you choose to do, is a good exercise and a healthy choice for mental wellbeing. Remember to reach out to professionals if you feel the need, there is no shame in asking for help.