Lockdown stress is difficult to deal with. You can’t do much except go to the grocery store, the pharmacy and exercise. You can’t get together with a group of friends. Loneliness creeps in. There is a sense of loss. Sadness can show up.
It feels limiting. Financial issues are there. Some people are out of work. There has been tremendous change in a short amount of time. And most of it does not seem good.
The stress level in our country is very high. You can notice it in grocery stores. People are walking around with masks on and many people are nervous.
How do you handle it? What do you do? Is this going to go on forever?
Some women have kids to raise. School is closed. The kids are home. This brings stress too.
Professional women have a great deal to manage now. Confinement and loss of freedom. What to do?
There can be a loss of sleep. Feeling anxious throughout the day. Everything seems off.
This time is stressful for myself and the clients I serve. There are 3 things you can do now to reduce your stress and to feel some relaxation.
#1: Lockdown Stress: Use Laughter
According to the Mayo Clinic’s article “Stress Relief from Laughter: It’s No Joke:”
“A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.”
So, laughter can help you relax and support your lungs. You get endorphins released, the feel-good hormone. Your stress is relieved. Laughter also boosts your immune system.
You are going to feel better. Your mood will improve. Laughter is an access to joy. And your happiness can be boosted. Laughter can be fun😊.
ACTION STEP: Find a way to laugh. Calling a friend who makes you laugh is a great way to relieve stress. You can help them too. You can also watch something funny on the internet. Like your favorite comedian. You can also watch a laughter yoga video and laugh along with the leader of the session. Anything that helps you laugh.
I find laughter a great stress reliever. I can usually reduce anxiety in less than a minute using laughter. This takes practice.
When you laugh, you can relieve anxiety and tension. You can lighten up. You can find your joy😊.
#2: Lockdown Stress: Use Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are another way to relieve stress. The idea is to go into your body and get out of your mind and thoughts. You can become present using your breath.
Breathing exercises can help you relax and be calm. You can also get more oxygen. You also boost your immune system. You can self-sooth.
One breathing exercise is humming. Humming can also help you sleep. It is something you can use morning, afternoon and evening. You can do it while driving, with your eyes open. You can do it while doing the dishes. It can lower your heart rate and your blood pressure. It can also produce powerful neurochemicals, such as oxytocin.
I find humming very relaxing. With practice, I can now relax in seconds just by thinking about humming. Amazing. I often use it in bed to be calm.
I have used humming to relax anxious people for years. It is so easy to do.
It is important to find your inner peace. Humming can be an access into that calm.
Humming can be done for 5 minutes to half an hour. It does not take long.
It is better to take care of yourself now. You can ignore your well-being and breakdown later. I don’t suggest that.
It is your life. You can create it as peaceful.
ACTION STEP: Hum. Breathe in through your nose and hum it out. Keep your lips together. You can close your eyes. Feel the vibration in your head and brain. Focus on the humming. Come out of your mind and thoughts. Come into the present moment. Feel what is going on in your head and body. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure you get plenty of oxygen by breathing in deeply after each hum.
How do you feel? Do you feel some relaxation? Lower stress?
The key: When you do things that help you relax; you can experience peace and reconnect with your life.
You can hum throughout your day as a way to relieve anxiety.
When you are relaxed and at peace, you have access to “everything”. You can feel joy and love. If you are stressed, it is hard to be happy or connected to others.
#3: Lockdown Stress: Use Meditation
Elizabeth Scott, at VeryWellMind.com, wrote an article “An Overview of Meditation:”
“Meditation affects the body in exactly the opposite ways that stress does—by triggering the body’s relaxation response. It restores the body to a calm state, helping the body repair itself and preventing new damage from the physical effects of stress. It can calm your mind and body by quieting the stress-induced thoughts that keep your body’s stress response triggered. There is an element of more direct physical relaxation involved in meditation as well, obviously, so this double dose of relaxation can really be helpful for shrugging off stress.”
Meditation is another way to relieve stress. It can help you relax and be calm. When you are calm, your body can heal itself.
You can find your inner peace. With practice, joy can bubble up during a meditation.
Meditation helps me relieve anxiety. I also can often feel an inner smile😊.
ACTION STEP: You can mix meditation with nature to relieve stress. Go outside and put your attention on something in nature. Maybe the blue sky, an animal or plant. You can hear the wind or a bird singing. You can feel them temperature. Use your sense perceptions. Really be aware of what your attention is on. If it is on a bird, watch it move. Listen to it. What color are its eyes? If you are looking at a flower, what are the characteristics of the flower. Be aware of the detail of what you are sensing.
You can use many types of meditation. Your breathing can be a meditation. I enjoy nature and meditate on nature throughout the day. I like to watch animals. Find the peace in nature. That same peace in a flower is in you. Connect with it. The flower is not stressed. Why should you be?
So, there are many ways to relieve stress. Find one or more that fit for you. You can use sense perceptions, nature, friends and more. Be creative. What feels right for you?
Lockdown stress can be relieved by using laughter, breathing exercises and meditation.
To Your Happiness,
Tucson’s Anxiety and Depression Breakthrough Specialist