Clinging to and Creating Emotional Wellness During Uncertain Times
Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and slowly exhale. Breathe in again. Slowly let this big cleansing breath move through your body. Try it four or five more times. Doesn't that feel good? It seems simple, but right now, we need to focus on breathing because it seems like we're all holding our collective breaths for what's next.
Since the global Coronavirus Pandemic has consumed our every waking moment, most of us feel like a big ball of knots of angst, fear, sadness, confusion, anger, loneliness, isolation, and uncertainty. The sudden and extreme changes, business shutdowns, job losses, ever-growing and seemingly unending stay-at-home orders, news updates of mounting cases of illness, and the staggering death rates have rocked our world.
During this crisis or any other disaster, catastrophe, or unexpected incident, we must cling to and create our own emotional wellness in order to Get Well, Be Well, Stay Well.
Manage Your Stress
It's understandable if you feel like your mind is saturated with negative thoughts, ideas, and emotions. The missed community and family events including religious and spiritual gatherings, sports, graduations, weddings, and even funerals combined with the prospects of losing a job, health insurance, and perhaps a home can be overwhelming. Stress and negativity are extremely draining. They deplete our bodies, our hearts, and our soul of energy and can rob us of our overall health and well-being. If stress is chronic and long-term, then it can lead to mental health issues, like depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. It can also lead to many different physical issues like cardiovascular disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke. Just as you need to replenish your body with fluids after a workout, you also need to replenish your mind with some positive thoughts, emotions, and stay physically active.
Take time to clear your mind.
Empty your mind of negative thoughts.
Practice daily meditation moments - even 5-10 minutes each day is great!
Your household may be a bit chaotic as you, your spouse, life partner, roommates, your kids, and your pets all occupy the same place 24/7. Work, school lessons, and daily living may make you feel stressed, worried, jumpy, depressed, and sad. Give yourself permission to go off by yourself for a few minutes of distraction-free quiet and calm.
Step outside, take a short walk, or take a long shower, or a soothing bath.
Visualize something that makes you relax.
Focus on your breathing. With each breath, push out the stress, the negativity, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, and anger,
Breath in positive thoughts, joyful moments, and savor beautiful, fun memories. We're all in this strange and scary situation together. We will get through these difficult times.
Practice Gratitude Daily
The more gratitude you pour into your life the more joyfulness you create for you and your family.
Be thankful of everything large and small. If you have trouble thinking of gratitude, grab a piece of paper and pen and write down 5-10 things you are thankful for in your life each day. Put those scraps of paper into a jar and then pull them out at the end of the week and reflect on what you wrote down earlier in the week. You will be amazed at how much gratitude will improve your emotional well-being!
Keep Your Physical Distance But Stay Socially Close
We are told to practice social distancing, but in reality in order to keep people healthy in the time of a global health crisis, it is prudent to keep ourselves physically distant from others, but gather in closely for our social interactions. Make use of the internet, phone calls, video chats, texts, and other forms of reach-outs and check-ins on your family, friends, co-workers, faith communities, and neighbors.
Express love, laughter, silliness, gratitude, and appreciation of everyone in your life. These connections are what fuel our lives and sustain us through tough times.
If you've found yourself on an eating frenzy lately, you need to be mindful that stress can trigger the need to binge or do round-the-clock eating.
Look for the healthier snacks - opt for more fruits, veggies, healthy smoothies, and other nutritious items rather than feeding that emptiness you feel from the COVID-19 overload with the not-so nutritious things that start with C - cookies, candies, cakes, and chips!
Get Regular Exercise - at least 30 minutes a day.
Get the family together for a dance party! Of course, you'll need to record it so that you can entertain the family members who aren't there or include everyone in a virtual dance party via Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or whatever video chat service you prefer! These are great also for your regular exercise classes that you've given up on now that the gym is closed. No Excuses - Keep Moving!
Take a walk or run or a bike ride. Do yoga or Tai Chi - anything that gets you off the couch and away from the refrigerator! Just keep your Physical Distance!
Get plenty of rest.
Try to stick to a regular sleep routine, even though your regular routine has changed.
Turn off the news. While it's important to stay informed during this pandemic, it's also good to give yourself a break from the constant updates.
Shut down those devices.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. Don't consume alcohol, or stimulating drinks like coffee or caffeinated teas or smoke right before you head to bed.
Seek help if you're struggling to cope. Talk to a mental health provider if you feel like you can't alleviate your stress and anxiety, or you have suicidal thoughts. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Helping others is good for your heart! Scientific evidence shows that people who volunteer are 40% less likely to develop hypertension than non-volunteers.
Helping others lowers your stress! A 2010 study showed that people who donate to charity have lower cortisol levels - that's the hormone that causes stress, anxiety, panic and higher blood pressure levels. During this crisis, there are several ways you can help others.
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has set up the CDP COVID-19 Response Fund
Check out the Charity Navigator for additional organizations and groups providing relief to others during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
BMI Wellness Concepts is concerned for your emotional wellness and wants to help you Get Well, Be Well, Stay Well!