If life is a series of valleys and peaks, right now we’re riding a rollercoaster through the depths of the valleys. We are low, on a global level, right now. It’s in these difficult times where you need more guidance and support.
The problem is, we can’t seek our normal support system because everyone is in the same position. Everyone is stressed out, feeling vulnerable and at risk. However, there are plenty of at-home stress soothers you can try that will help get you through these hard times.
Focus On What You Can Control
One of the most stressful aspects of this difficult time is the lack of control we feel. What you have to do to soothe yourself is focus on what you can control, rather than everything you can’t control. There are so many things that are beyond your control right now.
What you can control is your home. So, create a dirty zone and a clean zone. What does that mean? The dirty zone should either be directly outside of your home or just inside it. It’s where you should remove your shoes and outwear and wash down your phone, wallet, purse, etc. before coming into your home. This will help limit the risk. You should also wipe down any packaging that you bring into your home, whether it’s food shopping or a takeout.
You can also control your thoughts, by practicing some mindfulness you bring yourself back to the present moment which increases your ability to find opportunities amongst the challenges. You cannot have one without the other there is always an opportunity to balance the challenge, your job is to find the opportunity which can’t be done if you’re in fearful survival mode running on the sympathetic nervous system “fight or fight mode”. You cannot find solutions in “stress mode” as you have a convergent focus based in survival and over time this is linked to dis-ease. Mindfulness practices (presence, breath, meditation, gratitude, compassion) all help you to move out of this mode and into a divergent focus where you can through practice find solutions and opportunities.
A Meditation Minute
You will find a lot of relaxing in meditation. It’s a powerful practice that you should continue long after these days are left behind. For now, make it the first thing you do every morning (and do it throughout the day, too). Just close your eyes and breathe deeply, slowly inhale through your nose and hold it for a beat or two before you exhale it out of your mouth. Whilst doing this bring your awareness to your breath, what does it feel like, can you smell anything? That’s a simple meditation to get you started and help relieve some of the stress your body is holding. After mastering this move onto square breathing, you can use your hand to guide you by making a square… breathe in for 3-4 sec, hold for 3-4 sec, breathe out for 3-4 sec and hold for 3-4 sec….do this for a few minutes while making a square in the air with your hand/fingers to help with focus…..this will bring you back to the present moment.
Do not underestimate the value of exercise during these difficult days. There are plenty of easy exercises you can do at home, from push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and beyond. However, there’s something fun about random dancing. The beauty of this is that you can include the entire family. So, turn up some upbeat music and just have a dance party! You get to release all of your stresses while listening to great music.
There are also plenty of free yoga classes on youtube or you can subscribe to a plethora of online classes.
Breathe With Intention
If you pay attention to your breathing when you’re deeply stressed out, you’ll notice it’s rapid and shallow. You’re not breathing properly, it’s all in your chest. Guess what? That’s only going to perpetuate your stress levels. So, be intentional with your breathing and take deep, slow breaths in your diaphragm. How can you tell if you’re doing it right? The best way is to keep a hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Your ribcage and belly should expand with every inhalation of breath. Just be sure to exhale longer than you inhale unless your practicing a technique like square breathing as in number 2.
A Grounding Exercise
Using your senses will help ground you and relieve stress almost instantly. Find five things you can see, five things you can touch, five things you can smell, five things you can taste, and five things you can hear. It’s all about bringing your focus back to the present moment instead of stressing out about all the things you can’t control.
Just as an additional note, you may be tempted to smoke more often or drink to excess. While you feel that this is providing you with stress relief, it’s making it worse. Relying on stimulants and depressants to soothe stress is not going to go in your favour in the long term. Instead focus on these basics above and follow my blog/ Facebook page for more practices and guidance.