Dealing with life’s uncertainty during the pandemic can indeed become rather overwhelming. The various everyday challenges that have come with the new normal have caused many of us to experience higher daily stress levels.
Experts around the world have conducted studies that have shown numerous ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic has affected our mental health. Of course, stress is one of the most common issues widely experienced. Sadly, it is also an often overlooked impact of the current situation we’re in.
In this article, we would like to encourage you to take care of your mental health and well-being by practicing the following simple relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
- Breath focus
Breath focus is a popular relaxation technique that has been proven to be highly effective for stress relief. The first thing you need to do is to be able to observe the difference between deep breathing and normal breathing. In this exercise, you take deep and slow breaths. The air that you inhale should move downwards to your lower belly to the point that your abdomen is fully expanded. Exhale through your mouth or nose, whichever is more comfortable. Now you know the difference between deep breaths and normal breaths, you can start practicing deep breathing for several minutes.
- Mindfulness meditation
An article published by Harvard Health Publishing explained that meditation is a highly beneficial relaxation technique for people who experience anxiety disorders, depression, and pain. Start your meditation by choosing a comfortable sitting position, followed by focusing on your breath.
Once you are comfortable with both your sitting position and your breathing focus, start bringing your mind to the present. This means completely letting go of any thoughts or worries that belong in your past or future.
- Spend some time in nature
Researchers from Cornell University have recently found that spending only 10 minutes out in nature can make students happier and reduce physical as well as mental stress. Related to this ‘nature therapy’, other scientists have also found that even looking at images that display nature and greenery on a screen also has a relaxing effect. Thus, if your daily activities take place in a setting where you can easily go out in nature and stroll among trees, make sure to get your healthy dose of a minimum of ten minutes a day. And if you live in a big city where nature is some sort of luxury, then pretty images on the screen it is!
- Music is medicine
Various studies have proven that certain types of music can help people deal with stress and anxiety, as the effect of music can slow high heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduce the levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone.
Furthermore, researchers at Stanford University have also stated that listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication. Thus, listening to music is actually a stress relief technique that is accessible to almost anyone and requires very little effort too!
Well, those are the four simple relaxation techniques we have chosen for you to try without investing too much time or any money! Please note that experts have suggested trying more than one relaxation technique for you to be able to compare your experiences and determine which one works best for you. Good luck!