Stress weakens our immune system the most. However, this is a very stressful time. We all need to do our best to stay calm and manage our stress levels. Worrying isn’t going to keep you or your loved ones safe. But decreasing your cortisol levels will. We know, this is hard! But we all have to try and it’s a perfect time to incorporate some new routines.
Tips to keep your stress levels down:
- Laughter is the best medicine, right? Watch funny movies and shows, listen to comedians (there’s even a comedy station on the radio), get silly with your kids, or play with your dog or cat. Take a break from the news and find a way to laugh. You can’t physically be stressed at the same time you are laughing.
- Exercise – if your gym is closed use YouTube videos and many trainers are now streaming classes online. Keep moving!
- Get outside – this goes with exercise. Take walks, hikes, bike rides, play tennis or golf. All of these provide space between people. Sit outside every day in the sun, even if it’s cold out. Fresh air and sunshine are so good for our mood and stress.
- Yoga – the App DownDog has offered all of their classes for free during this time. Check them out here https://www.downdogapp.com/.
- Meditation – if you don’t have a practice this is a great time to start or if you do this is a good time to ramp it up. Meditation has been researched to lower stress and boost immunity. A win, win! Apps like Headspace provide great instruction for beginners. We also like Calm, 10% Happier, and Insight Timer apps. Even if your mind is wandering and worrying during your meditation the act of sitting in quiet for 5-10 minutes a day can really work wonders. Try it and make it a new habit.
- Prayer – whatever your higher power is now is the perfect time to connect for hope, gratitude and community-wide healing. Spreading love and positivity is what the world needs.
- Breathing exercises. You can breathe anywhere – in your car, standing in line at a store, etc.
- Put your hand on your belly to feel your breath coming from your belly, not your chest
- Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4
- Hold for a count of 4
- Breathe out through your mouth for a count of 8
- Repeat 3 times or until feeling calm
- Box breathing
- Inhale for count of 4 through your nose
- Hold for count of 4
- Exhale for count of 4 through your mouth
- Hold for count of 4
- Repeat and find a rhythm of in/hold/out/hold
- Play cards, board games and make jigsaw puzzles. Puzzles are very calming and can be meditative. Cards and games are fun ways to spend time with your family.
- Stay connected with friends and loved ones. A phone call is so novel during these days of texting. Call someone you’ve been thinking of to talk, connect, and share. Or video chat via Skype or Facetime. We shouldn’t isolate our relationships and we need each other to lean on more than ever. Netflix is offering a service where you can watch movies with friends virtually.
- Get creative – art projects such as coloring, drawing, painting; knitting, carpentry, furniture restoring, gardening and home redecorating can lower stress and are a great way to use up free time and keep your mind active.
- Dance – put on your favorite music and go for it!
- Gratitude – each night before bed write down three things you’re thankful for.
- Take some supplements to lower your cortisol. If you’re feeling panicked and are having trouble relaxing or sleeping talk to Jen or Stacy about supplements. Products like Cortisol Manager, L-theanine, Ashwagandha, CBD and Calm-Gen can really help take the edge off.
It’s going to be a few weeks and maybe a few months before this is past us. Don’t exhaust yourself now, pace yourself and do the best you can.
For more information and resources on supporting your health during these times, please read our other blogs:
Disclaimer: Nutrition therapy is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, prescription, or cure for any disease, or as a substitute for medical care. Jen Marshall and Stacy St Germain are not licensed medical providers. Nutrition plans are not intended as a substitution for traditional medical care, nor should be interpreted as medical advice, but instead is an adjunctive and supportive therapy.