It’s officially been three weeks since the lockdown in Japan was announced, but school’s been closed since March 3rd here. That’s two months of no classes, no swimming, no Aikido, no sleepovers, and no classes. I can’t even begin to fathom what it must be like for families in Italy and Spain where everything just stopped.
I’ve talked to a few clients via zoom over the past few weeks and right now, most people are taking it in stride; trying to make the best of a bad situation. All I can say is thank goodness for Netflix. Sure, I’d prefer to be out watching my son kick butt at swimming competitions or getting Aikido lessons, but beggars can’t be choosers. I take what I can get.
However, in talking to some people, I realize it’s tougher on them. Me, I’ve faced death. More than once, so every day is a gift. I get to wake up to see my lovely wife and son and have the chance to make a difference in the world. That’s good. I may be stuck at home most of the time, but I can manage.
But for those who have lost their jobs, suffer from anxiety, or are just going stir-crazy from being locked at home, it doesn’t get much more real than Covid-19.
After being under lockdown for just a few days, one friend told me they were stressed out. Stress and anxiety build up and they affect each of us differently. Even before this, according to healthline.com, 70% of people in the US say they felt stress or anxiety daily. Add a touch of corona-virus and that number’s more like 100%. Some people have found other ways to release their stress, some haven’t.
I always tell my clients, “We can only be as productive as we feel.” Well, guess what? Most people aren’t feeling great right now. That’s why it’s more important than ever we find ways to reduce stress and anxiety.
Here are four ways to help alleviate stress and anxiety.
Easy call here. Gyms are closed. Normal activities are pretty much non-existent. Skateparks have been sanded in. Beaches closed. But even if we’re confined to our houses we can still get in a workout. We’ve all got access to YouTube so maybe it’s a good time to give Yoga a shot. Heck, if it’s good enough for Lebron James, that should tell you something.
Exercise releases endorphins, aka happy hormones, into our blood and act as natural painkillers. If you can go outside, going for a walk or a jog is one of the best exercises there is. Or pump iron. Just do something.
One of the best ways to deal with stress is to get things down on paper. It’s amazing how our minds can become overwhelmed at times with all sorts of negative thoughts. By getting them down on paper, we’re able to see things more clearly.
An even better idea would be to simply write about everything good you’ve done. Gratitude and appreciation are powerful, the more we think about them, the less power negative thoughts have over us. It may sound silly, but I’ve tried it and it worked like gangbusters. Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret was right, “We become what we think about.”
In the darkest times, we can still find things to laugh about. Even when my wife and I found ourselves without food, money, shoes, or even toothbrushes when our bungalow imploded around us on Dec 26th, 2004, I still remember sharing stories and laughing with strangers throughout the night. We could have looked around us and seen despair, but what good would that have done any of us? We simply chose to appreciate how lucky we all were.
According to Robbie Maller Hartman, Ph.D., a Chicago health and wellness coach, “Research has shown that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.” Best of all, it’s easy. Don’t know how? No problem, YouTube’s got you covered.
Some people suggest repeating a positive mantra. Don’t believe me? World renown speaker and bestselling author Brian Tracy says that the best thing we can do to build a sense of confidence is to repeat to ourselves, “I like myself.” It’s something he teaches CEOs of companies all across the globe so don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
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Photo courtesy iStock.