So far, the events of 2020 have been enough to make even the most serene among us feel frazzled. You may be more stressed or sleeping less—and both of those things can trigger some people’s seizures. Here are some tips to help you chill out.
1. BREATHE DEEPLY
When we’re tense, we tend to take shallow breaths that increase our fight-or-flight stress response. Try slowing things down instead. Inhale and exhale through your nose for five counts in and five counts out, noticing your rib cage expanding and contracting with each deep breath. It may feel awkward at first, but it’s easy to practice while you’re in a stressful situation, such as on hold with your Internet provider, waiting to see your doctor, or simply trying to get dinner on the table on time.
2. BE MORE MINDFUL
Have a little extra time? Put down your phone and peace out for a few minutes. You don’t need to sit in a corner and chant to reap the benefits of meditation. Simply sit quietly and picture some place, thing, or activity that makes you feel calm and happy—including the sounds, smells, and sensations. Not working? Take a sip of water and concentrate on how it tastes and feels—and only on that. A little mindfulness break can act like a mini reset for your brain.
3. STRETCH YOURSELF WITH YOGA
Studies show that practicing yoga can reduce stress levels, boost your mood, and improve your overall health‚ even if you’re a beginner trying it for the first time. Try this simple relaxation pose: Lie on your back with your body at a right angle to the wall, then swing your legs up to rest against the wall, keeping your lower back on the floor. Rest here for a few minutes to help slow your heart rate and induce relaxation.
4. EXERCISE OUTSIDE
Seeking stress relief? Lace up your sneakers and head out the door. A 2019 study from the University of Michigan found that just a few minutes spent outdoors can lower stress and improve your mood. Exercise is a known stress-buster; taking your workout outdoors (if it’s safe to do so) is a great one-two punch to your stress levels. Just be sure to stay hydrated and avoid overheating!*
5. TRY TELETHERAPY
Sure, it might feel a little weird doing a video chat with your therapist. But don’t discount the benefits of talking to a pro when you’re feeling ill at ease. Plus, it may be easier to attend an appointment online than in person, and may provide an opportunity to invite loved ones to participate if your therapist is on board with adding them to your session.
*Always talk to your doctor before starting a new fitness regimen.