Let’s face it; we’re living in stressful times. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do, well, everything. Adapting to these lifestyle changes has been hard for a lot of us, creating a significant source of stress for millions of people. In fact, a recent study found that 1 in 3 Americans have displayed physical signs of anxiety and depression since the pandemic began. Elevated stress levels can take a toll on your immune system, your body’s natural defense against illness. Finding ways to manage stress right now is important for both your health and your sanity. Continue reading for tips to help you relax and decompress during this stressful time.
Keep to a Routine
Having a routine and sticking to it has been proven to reduce stress levels significantly. The majority of us are working from home now, which makes it easy to throw our normal routines out the window. Waking up and showering, hitting the gym, or having a healthy breakfast have been thrown out the window and many of us are just rolling out of bed and logging onto our computers for work. Instead, try to set up your home office in a designated place in your home, and establish a set time you will log on and off each day. Times are anything but normal right now, but sticking to a schedule helps our minds create some sense of normalcy.
Get Some Exercise
It should come as no surprise that exercise is one of the best ways to fight stress. Whether you prefer hitting the gym or working out from home, physical activity has a lot of great mental health benefits. Getting active releases endorphins, also known as the feel-good chemical that causes the feeling of a “runner’s high.” In addition to that chemical release, physical activity also makes it easier for you to fall asleep at night, which is essential to reducing stress and helping you find more peace in your life. If you’re not sure where to get started, begin by taking 10-minute walks a couple of times a day to help ease yourself into a small workout routine.
Eating well and exercising go hand in hand, but certain foods are particularly beneficial. These “comfort foods” aren’t the biscuits and gravy we tend to think of when we usually hear that term. Eating complex carbs like oatmeal, whole-grain bread and pasta encourage the brain to release more serotonin and level out blood sugar levels, giving you an almost instant mood boost. Fruits like oranges are known to curb stress hormones and strengthen the immune system. And if you’re having trouble falling asleep, having healthy carbs before bed (like fruits, nuts, or veggies) can help speed the release of serotonin for feelings of greater relaxation.
Some people read the term “meditation” and feel the dread set in. If you’re the type of person who feels like you don’t have time or just can’t seem to disconnect from the world enough for traditional meditation, that’s okay. Instead, take a few moments for yourself at the beginning of the day; this can even just be five extra minutes spent in bed. Starting your day by taking deep, relaxing breaths in and out for a few minutes helps quiet your immune response to stress and clears the mind.
Journaling can be a great way to channel negative energy and thoughts into something constructive. Studies have shown that expressing feelings of depression and frustration through journaling can significantly help with stress. Even on days where you may be feeling good, putting your day into writing is still incredibly beneficial. Make this part of your end-of-day routine, even if you’re just writing down the things you feel thankful for.
Curbing Stress Starts with You
Stressful times call for stress relieving measures. As we navigate the rest of the COVID-19 pandemic and the new normal of life, taking care of both our mental and physical health is more important than ever. Managing your stress will not only help you lead a happier life, but it will also encourage a healthy immune system function to keep you well. TruFit gyms are here to help you stay fit through it all. Our athletic clubs are open and adhering to all social distancing and CDC guidelines.