It feels like life is out of control and we can't get off the roller coaster at the moment.
While some (lucky) people can breeze through and carry on like nothing’s wrong, many of us are struggling. And it's completely normal to feel worried, stressed, anxious and overwhelmed. Even those who don’t usually suffer with anxiety and stress are finding things tough and feeling powerless.
So we’ve put together a few ways you can help look after yourself. Even better, they are free!
Acknowledge what you are feeling
Emotions can be a bit like annoying kids wanting attention. The more you try and ignore or suppress them, the more they’ll clammer for attention, getting louder and louder until you snap.
Taking a quiet moment to sit, take some deep breaths and acknowledge what it is you are feeling.
It can be as simple as putting a hand on your heart, taking 10 deep breaths and just tuning in.
“Hello anger. I see you resentment. I feel you fear. Hi there anxiety.”
You might feel them in different parts of your body and just send a breath there.
Sometimes that all our mind & body needs – just acknowledgement that we know those emotions are there and we aren’t ignoring them like we usually do.
Another way can be to set aside 10 minutes and just write with stream of consciousness.
Start with ‘today I am feeling….’ And just go for it. Don’t stop and think, don’t correct spelling or punctuation, just let it flow. It can be very empowering and release thoughts you may not have even realised you were having.
One of the easiest ways to turn off your flight or fight stress response is to breathe out longer than you breathe in.
So check in with your breathing throughout the day. Unclench your jaw, drop your shoulders and take 3-10 slow breaths into your belly. Breathe out for a count or two longer than you breathe in.
Lying flat on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor can help relax the psoas muscles at the waist that get really tight and can constrict your breathing. Doing a few minutes like this every day with slow belly breathing can be very beneficial for those stress levels.
Get your kids involved too and take a few minutes for a 'breathing' break every day.
Start your day consciously
Setting your intention for the day can be a powerful way to set the tone for your entire day.
Using affirmations such as ‘no matter what happens around me, today is a good day’ can help focus your mind to look for the good stuff in your day.
Or taking time to meditate. Even a few minutes can really help calm and centre your system.
If this all sounds too hippy-dippy for you, then how about a dance party? Put on some upbeat tunes and sing and dance along for a few songs. You can do this while you’re getting breakfast ready and get the kids involved too.
The science behind why meditation is so good for us is pretty staggering. Even just a few minutes a day of mindfulness – whether it’s listening to calming music, sitting in silence, chanting, counting your breath - or whatever mindfulness is to you, can help reduce stress. In fact, research shows that meditation not only improves the immune system, it also reduces blood pressure and even sharpens the mind!
Exercise helps support a healthy immune system. Sweating helps flush out toxins and get that lymphatic system moving. Movement may also help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. And exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Lower stress hormones may protect against illness. So that feel good dance party we suggested – it has double the benefits!
However, while exercise is good for you, too much isn’t always a good thing. So don’t go overdoing it.
Eat a varied and nutrient-rich diet. Foods such as citrus, nuts, sprouts, ginger, garlic, spinach, green tea, turmeric all have properties that can help look after your immune system and provide vital minerals and nutrients.
Joy and laughter have all been shown to have positive effects on the immune system.
Studies have found that fresh air has disinfectant properties. Sunshine also boosts vitamin D levels, which are key for healthy immunity.
Be gentle & kind
With others. And mostly with yourself.
Together we’ll get through this.
Because at some point, every storm runs out of rain.
Disclaimer: The information presented here has been written to the best of our knowledge. However, the information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you or your family. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted. All health ailments, conditions or concerns should be treated by a qualified health professional.
Posted: Sunday 22 March 2020