There is stress and there is super stress. A pandemic qualifies in the ‘super stress’ category. Daily life and routines are affected.
Normal stress over time creates edgy emotions and a predisposition to getting sick. We are now a month into ‘super stress’ mode.
There are some things that help people deal with stress that you can apply during this super stress time.
One thing is structure. Your life used to be structured by work, social gatherings, athletic events, clubs, family get togethers. Now that is no longer the case, but your mind and body still crave the normality that structure brings. And that can be in your control! I’m going to daily mass online every morning at 8:15am and that helps structure my day. If you were never a list maker in the past, create to-do lists for the day or the week. Have a morning routine and an evening routine that includes your self-care … soaking in the tub, stretching, yoga, brushing your teeth, plan what you’ll cook for the day.
Another thing is appreciation. If you have a pet, notice how peaceful they look when they sleep and soak that in. If you have plants, notice how they are still thriving and growing. Now that you have extra time, just sit and listen to the bird songs and watch a sunbeam through your window. Life is going on, it’s just happening at a slower pace, soak it in, and feel the gratitude for all that is still normal in nature.
And an oldie but a goodie is breath exercises. Sometimes anxious feelings creep in and you need something to move that negative pressing energy out of your body. Breath work does work. Physically, the large breathing muscle called the diaphragm has direct innervations to the stress/relaxation nerve called the vagus nerve. There are many different ways to activate the relaxation of the diaphragm but all require you to focus on your breathing. I’ll give you three breath exercises: 1) navy seals square or box breathing – inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4 and then repeat; 2) slowly breath in deeply to fill your belly and feel your internal organs expand and separate; and 3) use your imagination and breathe in through your tail bone allowing the breathe to move up the nervous system of your spine and imagine exhaling through the top of your head, now switch and breathe in through the very top of your head and allow your breath to move down your spine and exhale through your tail bone. There are so many different types of breathing … yoga breathing, baby breathing, one nostril breathing, sharp inhale and exhale breathing … practice them all and see which works best to remove anxious stress from your body.
The super stress of these times can cause us to close in and feel disconnected from others, so be sure and evaluate your reactions … are they judgmental or curious? are they fearful or informative? are they frustrated or forgiving?
Breath in compassion and love and serenity and you will be a powerful creator of your life. You will organize your success. You will attract the support and resources you need. You will maintain your appreciation for what is good and your vision of what can be. And you will have peace.
If you had the power to create anything this month what would it be?