Relieving Stress During Difficult Times
In the midst of a global pandemic, immense police brutality against Black people, anti-Asian hate, and political tensions, it is no doubt that we are currently in the midst of some stressful times within the world. Managing the stress brought on by all of these events is incredibly difficult, especially with the unrelenting nature of these tragic occasions of hate. Witnessing these horrific events triggers immense stress on a neurological level. Furthermore, the feelings of helplessness, sorrow, and frustration all weigh heavily on our minds adding to the stress. In these seemingly unrelentingly difficult times, it is critical to take care of one’s mental health, particularly through managing stress. Here are a few ways to stay calm, provide self care, and relieve stress.
Set Time restrictions on Social Media
While many of us use social media as a platform to stay connected and stay informed, the mass influx of information can overwhelm our neurological stress response. Yes, it is crucial to stay informed on current events and news, but constant exposure to traumatic events will create internalized stress that will manifest in depression and anxiety. Restricting the amount of time you spend on social media is a simple solution to managing stress intake. During the time that you are not on your social media, you can spend practicing habits of self care and stress relief such as meditation and mindfulness.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation is one of the greatest stress relieving techniques as it offers a space of quiet relaxation and freedom from difficult thoughts. Focussing on deep breathing and clear thoughts, medication can alleviate stress. Mindfulness is essential to meditation for stress relief. While in a position of meditation, stressful thoughts threaten to break through your mental barrier. Being mindful of these thoughts during meditation will help you to learn how to manage them in a state that is calm and controlled. This aids in preparing you for staying calm and collected during situations that are difficult to control.
If you’re anything like me, the silence of meditation can do very little to quiet the loudness of your thoughts. When this happens to me, I tune in and tune out: I turn on my favorite music on full blast and feel the stress slip away with every beat. Listening to our favorite music releases endorphins that bring us feelings of joy and contentment. However, tuning in to the music is only half the task! Tuning out what initially seemed stressful is essential when utilizing music as a stress reliever. Replace negative thoughts with your singer’s favorite song and dance like no one is watching!
Another free form of stress relief is simply moving your body for at least an hour a day. Moving your body doesn’t have to look like going to the gym or on long runs! It’s as simple as taking a small walk, throwing a mini dance party in your room, or just moving about your living space! Getting the blood flowing and moving your body is incredibly beneficial for your mental health and releases endorphins in a similar manner to listening to your favorite tunes.
Written By Cristina Gutierrez