As you know, the news is providing the latest updates on the coronavirus, but no one seems to share tips on how to calm our anxiety in the wake of this pandemic.
This week, on coffee with Nunzia, I’m sharing my new piece published on the Health Journal.
Real Strategies to Calm Anxiety
If you feel like the entire world is crashing in on you during this unprecedented health crisis, you are not alone. People around the globe are facing the unthinkable as the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 continues to escalate with more than 10,000 deaths in the U.S.
President Trump said a difficult week is heading our way in fighting the global pandemic. “This will be the toughest week.” “There will be a lot of death, unfortunately.” Given the above statement, it’s no wonder that as the coronavirus continues to spread, so does our panic. The anxiety and grief from this pandemic are affecting every single one of us right now.
Coping with the stress is both mentally and emotionally challenging. Facing the anxieties and worries that run through our minds is difficult. We may feel angry, afraid, and confused. As we watch the news, we are witnessing entire countries around the world shutting down. Many, including myself are wondering what’s going to happen next or how we are going to pay our bills, maybe even buy groceries.
Now more than ever, it is imperative that we include some form of exercise in our daily routine. Even during quarantine, if you keep your body moving for about twenty minutes each day, it will help to reduce stress. It will boost your mood, calm your anxiety, ease your depression and may even improve your immune response. The world may not have been prepared for this, but you can prepare yourself. Your life may depend on it.
Keep Your Body Moving
According to Mayo Clinic, “Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.”
In a recent report, the CDC suggests a total of 150 minutes of adequately invested aerobic activity for each week, along with two days of muscle strengthening activity, that you can easily extend to avoid doing it all at once.
To anyone, that sounds unmanageable – even daunting and anxiety provoking in and of itself. Because many of us are limited with time, the CDC suggests that you can stretch out your workouts throughout the week. “You can even break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. Learn more about finding a balance that works for you.” It will help you to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
While you are at home, why not schedule a daily video chat to keep in touch with family members living in different households or around the country? Be sure to stay in touch with your elderly family members as well because the likelihood is that they are more isolated than most. A recent study shows that during stressful times contact with a friend decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol which when overactive, over time can negatively impact your immune system.
Mayo Clinic has stated that when we face difficulties, having a strong social connection around us is imperative to fight stress, indicating that now more than ever we need to keep in touch with our friends, even if we can’t meet up together in person. A strong social support network can be critical to help you through the stress of tough times, whether you’ve had a bad day at work or a year filled with loss or chronic illness. It turns out that when you make time to keep in touch with your friends — even if only online — it can actually make you feel happier.
Make Time for a Mindful Morning Routine
A calming morning ritual with these quick and gentle mindfulness movements is a great way to de-stress when you are feeling frustrated. It will help to set you up for a stress-free day, especially when the tension and anxiety can strike out of nowhere.
These quick relaxation techniques are an effective way to calm your nerves and lower your blood pressure helping you to get mentally as well as physically fit.
Benefits of Meditation
When we meditate even for a short time, it can change the brain’s neural pathways. “A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” said Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.
This ancient practice has been around for thousands of years. When we take a few minutes to take a deep breath, relax and clear our minds it brings a wide range of health benefits. Mindfulness may also be good for hearts that are already healthy. Research suggests that meditation can increase respiratory sinus arrhythmia, the natural variations in heart rate that happen when we breathe that indicate better heart health and an increased chance of surviving a heart attack.
Activities suggested by the CDC to boost your immunity during this time:
• Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
• Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate.
• Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
• Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
• Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
You Can Do This
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic, there are coronavirus hotlines for each state to provide support and to answer all your questions. Keep in mind that this is a time to listen up, pay attention and follow the guidelines and directions of our experts on the frontlines. It is important to stay home in order to stop the spreading of the virus but stay positive and calm. Remember that you are not alone. Namaste.