There’s an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty right now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems like every day there is a new challenge, a new restriction in place.
Maybe you’re working from home right now. Maybe you have children who are home from school with you. Maybe you’re looking after loved ones who need extra care right now. Or maybe you’re on the front lines of serving others.
It’s a unique time we’re experiencing together, even though we’re physically supposed to be apart, practicing social distancing as we now know it.
It’s strange, right?
If you’re feeling particularly off balance, overwhelmed, powerless, or anxious right now, you’re not alone! With event cancellations, school closures, and many of us working remotely these days, you’re probably feeling additional stress and even some anxiety lately.
And while we can’t control much beyond our own social distancing when it comes to what’s happening with the virus these days, the stress we’re feeling can still take a toll on our physical and mental health, even in just a short amount of time.
That’s why it’s SO important to look at what we CAN control and make our mental and physical health a priority.
Here are 5 ways to prioritize caring for your mind and body during stressful times...
- Acknowledge how you feel and take control of your thoughts. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel anxious and stressed when it comes to uncertainty. While we can’t control what life brings us, we CAN control our thoughts and how we handle the challenges that come our way. Listen to your body and your mind, and acknowledge what’s been burdening you. Then make a conscious decision to shift your mindset to something more positive. It’s not easy, but it can make a huge difference in how the rest of your day goes!
- Choose a word that describes how you want to feel. Remind yourself of this word when you feel anxiety or stress starting to take over. Maybe you want to feel confident, optimistic, calm, happy, joyful, or peaceful. Write the word somewhere you will see it, or add it to the background of your phone’s home screen. When you see the word throughout the day, take a moment to breathe and bring yourself back to the way you want to feel.
- Create a routine. We all crave routine and the order it brings to our lives. Now is a great time to reflect on and adjust your daily habits. Be sure to include some self-care so you can focus on feeling your best. Whether you want to improve your morning routine or you simply want to make some time during the day to relax, breathe, read a book, or get in some exercise, write out your new routine and share it with those closest to you for some additional accountability. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your new schedule shifts your mood!
- Do the things you need to do to feel the way you want to feel. This mantra has gotten me through some challenging and stressful moments. Think about what you can do to combat feelings of stress and anxiety, especially when it comes to circumstances beyond your control. Maybe you need to go for a walk and get some fresh air. Perhaps you can close the door to your room and simply lay on your back and breathe deeply for 10 or 15 minutes. Make a list of the things you can do to feel a sense of peace, and revisit this list whenever you need to take a break from a stressful situation. I also shared more on this topic in a recent podcast episode.
- Make time to move! Not only does exercise release endorphins, which improve our outlook and reduces stress hormones, but working out actually helps to boost our immune system, too. We all hold stress somewhere in our bodies, so it’s important to find ways to move that help us to release that stress, lift our mood, and build strength at the same time. You don’t have to do anything intense to feel the benefits of movement. In fact, Pilates is a mindful exercise that includes the rhythm of your breath, a connection to your mind and body, and allows you to focus on the moment you’re in, giving your mind a break. In light of all that’s going on in the world, we’ve re-opened The Sisterhood so you can take care of your body and your mind during this stressful season. Our hope is that you will feel as healthy and calm as possible during this season of uncertainty.
I encourage you to do something for yourself today! Be proactive. Turn off the news and log out of your social media apps to give your mind and body a chance to reset.
By making time to care for your mind and body, you’ll also feel more strength, balance, and calm, which can shift your whole mood. This can be SO powerful in how the rest of your day plays out.
Of course, don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty if you fall off track with prioritizing self-care. Just pick back up where you left off!
When you take mindful actions to care for your mind and body during stressful situations, you will feel more calm and capable to handle the hard things that come your way.