What a strange year 2020 has turned out to be so far. Due to unprecedented global events, we all face some extremely uncertain times ahead. On a positive note, a growing sense of community spirit has emerged because we really are all in this together.
To those who suffer from anxiety, please know that you are not alone! If you feel like your anxiety is spiralling out of control with all the talk of Coronavirus / COVID-19, here are 10 easy ways you can reduce your stress and anxiety, right now, here today!
We are inclined to hold our breath when we are stressed or anxious yet one of the most effective ways to relax is to BREATHE. It does require a focused approach, but the benefits are huge in calming your mind.
Take whatever time you can spare, from between 1 – 5 minutes, to practice the following easy relaxation exercise. First, sit up with your back straight, and with your feet on the floor. Use your powerful creative energy to imagine roots going down about 10 meters into the earth, this will anchor you. Now allow your breath to drop into your belly, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Count to 5 for each in-breath and out-breath.
When you are anxious, your primary stress hormone, (cortisol) increases in your body. This is your flight or fright response kicking in to protect you from danger. Exercise helps to decrease excessive stress hormones and restores us to a more calming state.
It also stimulates the production of endorphins. These are the chemicals in the brain that naturally help improve your mood. Do something you enjoy – walk, swim, run, dance, just get physical! Even if it is only a brisk walk, the distraction will help boost your energy and clear your mind.
Make your bedroom a place for rest. Declutter. Don’t bring your work to bed with you and avoid using laptops, mobile phones close to bedtime. Preferably 1-3 hours before bed if you can. It is thought that the blue light emitted from our modern phones and LED screens can influence our sleep patterns and confuse our natural sleep cycle making us feel awake instead of naturally drifting off to sleep.
Also avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks. Although it is tempting, these rev you up instead of calming you down. Alcohol should also be avoided. While it might give the illusion of helping you drift off, the sleep itself is often restless, disturbed and of poor quality.
While it is important to stay informed with the latest news in the current climate, do minimise distress by avoiding the social media frenzy and limit the amount of TV you are watching.
Practice leaving your devices alone for longer periods, avoid the nagging impulse to constantly check it and allow yourself time to switch off from the constant stream of virtual noise. In the morning, instead of grabbing your phone first thing and scrolling social media, allow your body to wake up gradually. Eat breakfast mindfully without distraction, get dressed and welcome the new day with ease.
If meditation is new to you, there’s a fabulous app called Insight Timer with a large library of guided meditations to choose from. You can even filter the time limit to what works for you – even one minute per day.
If you’ve got more time to practice, great, but if you are just starting out, perhaps practice your meditation first thing in the morning before you get out bed. It’s such a positive start to your day.
Rather than waiting to see what spare few minutes, you might be able to grab at the end of a busy day after everything else is in hand, schedule 10-15 minutes to relax. Make it entirely your time to do what you love!
It could be taking a bath, enjoying a cup of tea with a magazine or listening to your favourite music. Avoid your phone or computer and indulge in your chosen me-time guilt-free.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment intentionally. It’s about learning to develop your awareness in the here and now. We spend so much time living in our minds that we often disconnect from our bodies and being. This can leave us feeling tired, empty and unsatisfied.
There are lots of easy things you can practice doing mindfully. When you eat, eat. Avoid all other distractions.
When you walk, listen to the sounds around you. Feel your feet connect with the ground, pay attention to how your body feels.
Truly listen when someone speaks and give them your full attention.
With mindfulness, you may begin to see new things you haven’t noticed before!
One of the things my clients repeatedly tell me is that they feel so much better after our consultation and getting things off their chest. Sometimes just hearing yourself say what is bothering you aloud, can help release some of the built-up tension. Talk to someone about how you are feeling be they friends, family or a professional service!
They say laughter is the best medicine as it helps relieve physical tension and stress. Seek out opportunities that make you laugh – Watch a funny movie, be silly with the kids or your loved ones, or just try to laugh at yourself a little more.
Ok, yes, I’m biased of course – being a fan of homeopathy after all! 😊 You can check out how homeopathy can help relieve anxiety or panic attacks here, plus, why not sign up for the Free Anxiety Ebook: How to Rapidly Relieve Anxiety In Your Life.
Consultations available: Dublin 2, Dublin 12, Ireland & Worldwide Via SKYPE
Eileen Scullion of Homeopathy-Healing is a Registered Homeopath LicISH ISHom with the Irish Society of Homeopaths (The Regulatory Body for the Homeopathic Profession which is recognized by the Department of Health and Children and works on the National Working Group towards an integrated Health System).