Stressful times are upon us. In the midst of a pandemic, everything is closed, the future is uncertain and there's a 75% chance your entire family will be infected with COVID-19.
Did that get your heart racing just reading it? Is it hitting a little too close to home? Stress impacts our minds and bodies more than we realize. Common symptoms are headaches, irritability, muscle tension, and pain, it can even alter your social behaviors. Long term effects include lack of sleep, weight gain, anxiety, and even heart disease. It's easier said than done, but now is more important than ever to keep your stress in check.
As women, we have so many things pulling us in different directions. While we may not be able to control our stressors, i.e. someone constantly saying, “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mommy, ma, mamma, mamy, mom…” (You get the idea), we can control our response to it. Below are some tips and tricks to relax your mind and body and get a real smile on your face while in quarantine.
Even better, hang out with your goofy girlfriends over lunch. Nothing beats laughing with people you love.
Laugh. Find something funny and have yourself a good belly laugh. Smiling and laughter are infectious. Once you start, you usually find it hard to stop. Whether it’s a funny memory from 10 years ago or a meme you just saw on facebook. It’s going to release those feel-good endorphins and combat your body’s stress signals. Nothing beats laughing with people you love.
Try deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Finding your center is critical when your body is sending distress signals. Be mindful of your body, come back into it instead of letting your mind run rampant and carry that tension. Listen to what it’s telling you. Can’t shake the feeling of fatigue? Slow down, take a nap. Daydreaming about going on a solo hike? Take a walk around the park. Allow yourself to connect to your surroundings, feel your belly rising with each breath, feel your feet on the floor. Be it for one minute or ten, you will be amazed at the difference it makes.
Make time for your hobby! I am the worst at this. After all, I am a professional boudoir photographer. I’ve made a living out of monetizing creativity. But trust me, doing something fun just for the sake of enjoying it is so fulfilling! Just picking up my camera to photograph my neighborhood, pretty plants in the garden or my cat is relaxing. Knitting, biking, gardening, cooking, whatever it is you do, go do it. Not only is it a distraction from the stress, it gives you instant gratification, it allows you to stay present in the moment and it’s a reminder of what brings you joy before work, kids, and bills.
4. Get moving! Yes, my first response to stress is to reach for a glass of wine. But exercise is so much better for you. Get your blood pumping with a class or solo. Go for a walk or a run, do 20 jumping jacks, take a hike, dance around the house, do some yoga, whatever that gets your heart going. The stress-busting endorphins will kick in after about 10-15 minutes of activity.
5. Pupperoni snuggles. I know many of my boudoir photography clients have pets. Research shows owning a pet reduces stress. What’s more comforting than snuggling on the couch with your warm, fluffy cat or dog? What’s even better is, more recent research has found that dogs and cats are actually aware of human emotions. So if you get the vibe that Fido is extra attentive when you’re feeling frazzled, you may be right. They don’t care if the house is a mess, that you gained five pounds over the holidays, or even that your work project is behind the deadline. The best part is they don’t talk back.
Choose one or all five to get yourself back in alignment and do these things guilt-free. When (not if) you’re taking time for yourself, you have to do so without guilt. Just stop. If you’re feeling frazzled, it means your body needs to recharge. This is the time you need for you. Re-centering can help you be fully present for those around you and be even more productive when you do return. You have to take care of you. Let us help with a day filled with me-time. Remember to take one thing at a time, and try not to let the stress of it all get you down.