I feel like a lot of us are going through a period of stress being couped up at home in the face of all this uncertainty. Sometimes I want to just break into tears because along with our already fragile emotional state due to this pandemic, we also have to deal with our pre-existing causes of stress. So three things that have really helped me since I’ve implemented them during the onset of the pandemic are meditation, journaling and taking walks. I kid you not, but these three basic things have really been resulting in a decrease in my stress. They take time to implement, but once you fall into a routine you’ll feel your tension slowly ease after a particularly rough day.
- Mediation- I honestly thought I’d never get into mediation. My mom has been an advocate of mediation for many years now and used to enforce that we did it everyday when we were growing. As I child, I never took it seriously as I honestly couldn’t concentrate on something I thought was such waste of time because in my mind I didn’t see the benefit of thinking about nothing. My mom eventually gave up on enforcing this with me and all was forgotten with regards to this. Then I was introduced to the Calm app and thought I’d give it another try as I’d heard great things about it and was going through a particularly stressful period of time. I’m so happy I did because it’s life changing. You can pick from a range of things to calm your mental state, from 10 minute daily follow along mediation routines, to music curated by popular artists to stories read by celebs. There are various options you can choose from depending on what you think will click with you. Personally I’ve only tried the 10 minute guided meditations but I’m looking forwarded to trying out the storytelling section too. I think what’s changed since I was a kid till now is that I used to think mediation was dumb because you were wasting time thinking about nothing, but now I see it as a time to clear your head not have to worry about anything else that’s on your mind. Obviously once the meditation is over and you come back to reality, it’s not like your stresses automatically disappear but you come back with a renewed sense of purpose with a clear head ready to tackle the issues, that once felt so daunting. Taking a step back truly gives you clarity.
2. Journaling – Journaling is a way to reflect on your thoughts and feelings from the day and let them out on paper. The sense of relief you get by doing this one small activity is mind boggling. I like to think of it as a once sided conversation where you can belt out everything on your mind at once. You get a chance to reflect and be honest on what’s been bothering you or what you are thankful for. This was probably the hardest to fall into a routine with because sometimes you don’t want to be honest about what you’re feeling. But this is truly something you should implement into your regimen because you never feel bad about yourself after journaling, just a sense of relief that you are in tune with your mind and feelings.
3. Walks – Probably the easiest to implement of the three. Never under estimate a good walk. I think we all know the benefits of a good walk by now : it’s good exercise, clears your mind and gives you a change in scenery by being outside with fresh air (although with the fires “fresh” is debatable on the west coast) when we’ve been stuck indoors for so long. We need the Vitamin D from the sun and the outside air really clears our head. I used to be so bad about going on walks but what I’ve found that helps is having someone hold you accountable to go on them. My family and I take daily 30 minute walks around the same time everyday and even if one family member isn’t feeling up to it, we pressure them to come and stick to the routine.
If I’m completely honest, prior to implementing the three things mentioned my stress level was so high that I couldn’t process my thoughts into words fast enough because I had so much going on that I had to juggle. If I was typing messages to friends they would be full of typos and very frazzled and then seeing that would make me feel even more anxious because I am a perfectionist. By clearing my head I’m glad to say that now everything doesn’t feel as much as a rush anymore and I am able to think more clearly now.