Every day, we wake up, more or less knowing how our days will go. Whether we are aware of it or totally oblivious to it, there is a certain schedule we follow, with only a few things changing somewhere in between. There is an established routine that makes us feel safe, comfortable—a sense of normalcy. Until recently, the past few weeks have drastically changed our day-to-day lives.
With the majority of people working from home, it can somehow feel new, daunting, maybe even overwhelming, as being "stuck" at home can be a completely new experience. rustans.com spoke with some health, fitness, and wellness experts who offered some advice on how to keep your anxieties in check and find some relief throughout the day.
Acknowledge the Situation
Acknowledge that there will be good days and bad days. I have cried almost every day at the loss that we are all facing. I have felt the lack of energy and the desire to sleep more and sit on the sofa with Netflix or a book. At the same time, I've also laughed until I've cried every day, too! I think it's all normal.
Just acknowledge and vent.
The sooner you adapt to it the sooner you cope.
In our intention to "be normal" during these times, we tend to downplay, belittle or dismiss our negative feelings. Being in a comfortable and safe physical or financial circumstance doesn’t negate that we can feel isolated (because we are, in fact, isolated). And this isolation leads to anxiety and stress. Know that negative emotions during this time can also be "healthy" signs—that we are human, that we are empathetic towards the circumstances, that we have a need to look for the good.
Meditation is Key
You can use this time to learn how to meditate. It's been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Think of meditation like a mental shower. We bathe and brush our teeth every day, but most of us haven't learned the tools for attending to our mental health! It might seem like such a difficult task to sit still and silent but you can start by breathing consciously. That is the first step in learning how to meditate. Baby steps is always the way to go to achieve any goal.
Now, more than ever, is the time to start or cultivate a mindfulness practice. Mindful breathing in stillness is the most traditional and accessible way; but yoga, walking, baking, painting, calligraphy, or some other slow, focused activity works too. Do it in a way that isn't forced, feels natural for you, and without expecting a particular result. The benefits will unfold naturally.
Starting a meditation practice is something I encourage my clients and followers to do. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all. It can be just 5 to 10 minutes of silence and breath work every morning as soon as you wake up and at night before bed. Consistently moving but keeping intensity between light to moderate also helps keep stress at bay. Try not to do anything too intense during the period. Lastly, immersing our bodies in water clears away any negative energy so hydration is now more important (apart from the fact that it’s summer) and making sure you shower and externally cleanse your body helps a lot. It’s easy to skip showers these days given the fact that we stay home more often but consider it part of self-care.
Finding Your Routine
I try to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time every day, and not go to bed too late. The same with my eating habits—I eat at the same times every day. I also exercise every day—I alternate cardio and strength circuits with basic equipment such as my jump rope, dumbbells, and mini bands. But even if you don't have any exercise equipment at all, you can still move your body. Pushups, lunges, squats, crunches, jumping jacks... all are great for getting your heart rate up, strengthening your muscles, and producing feel-good endorphins that elevate your mood.
The goal in managing our stress and anxiety is not to shrug them off - but to feel them and use them to.our advantage. On a daily basis, we try not to be "too high" or "too low"—maintain a balance in emotions and energy within our space.
Find a productive activity daily. Something that tickles your senses, excites you, makes you smile. This can be exercise, baking, binge watching, learning, socializing.