4 Ways to RELAX During Unprecedented Times
I was at the store the other day and so many people looked not only physically tired but soul weary. You could see the sadness in their eyes over their masks. I understand this is a stressful time for everyone in the middle of a pandemic. As I mentioned before, stress is a bigger killer than any virus. I don’t say that to belittle this health crisis – I say it because I know it to be 100% true.
Chronic stress is probably the number one killer in the world. It causes all kinds of diseases from hypertension and heart disease to cancer. As we all continue to keep a safe distance from one another and wash our hands, it is equally important to make sure we take time to de-stress and relax.
So let’s look at some of the best ways you can get your mind and body into a state of relaxation.
1. Learn How to be Calm
When you live in a constant state of stress and anxiety, you forget how it even feels to be calm and relaxed. This is why so many people have trouble falling asleep at night – because their minds and bodies cannot remember how to get into a state of relaxation.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to instantly calm yourself is through your breathing. I highly encourage you to check out the Heart Math Institute. Their breathing techniques put your heart into a state of coherence. You will not only feel more relaxed in the moment, but when you continue to practice these techniques, you may also experience a greater immune system and improved sleep.
2. Release Physical Tension
Our minds and bodies are connected. When we are mentally and emotionally stressed, our bodies begin to hold the tension in our muscles and other organs. It’s so so so important that we find ways to remove this tension.
You may find it helpful to try and do tension release exercises at night before you fall asleep. Go through your entire body, starting at your feet, and tense the muscles for a couple of seconds and then release. Do this, slowly working your way up to your face and top of head. You may find you don’t even make it all the way through your body before you fall asleep.
Exercise is also a fantastic way to release muscle tension. Just be sure to gently stretch after you do it. Not only will your muscles feel better, but you’ll also get a boost of endorphins, which will make your mind and emotions feel better as well.
We’ve talked about how to relax through the breath, how to relax through releasing muscle tension, now let’s talk about how to relax using your mind. I have mentioned many times about how visualization was one of the tools that helped me fight cancer years ago.
Your imagination is powerful. What you think you become if you do it often enough. So start to imagine scenarios that make you feel calm. Are you at your favorite beach or lake? Maybe you’re at your grandparents’ house where you felt safe and loved. Whatever that place or situation, really put yourself there. Feel the ocean breeze or smell your Nanna’s apple crisp cobbler. Use every bit of your imagination and all of your senses to really experience it.
And, number 4… ways to RELAX during these unprecedented times.
4. Spend More Time in Nature
Now is the perfect time to get outside and feel the sun warm you and experience nature coming back to life. Being with nature can be a form of meditation if you allow it.
When outside, try and let your thoughts go and focus on the sights and sounds around you. I like to find a comfortable spot to plop myself and close my eyes and just listen to the sounds. Listen to the breeze playing my neighbor’s wind chimes, the birds and insects and children playing. Try and expand your hearing… what else do you hear… and what else?
Soon you are so intently focused on listening that all other thoughts will stop. When this happens to you for the first time you may find yourself gasp. Unless you have been practicing meditation for a while, experiencing that moment when your thoughts stop… amazing. Of course, thinking about how amazing it was pops you out of it, but that’s okay because now you know EXACTLY how to get back there. Close your eyes and simply listen to the world around you.
I hope in the coming days and weeks you put these techniques to practice so you can begin to relax more. And once you master these, you can use them no matter what kind of stress presents itself in your life.
More resources for coping with the stress of Covid-19: https://youtu.be/fj-vQEBIYyM
Stay Safe. Stay Strong.
Sending light and love…