COVID-19 – Managing and Reducing Stress/Anxiety
Have you found you’re experiencing more stress and tension during this isolation period?
Muscle tension exercises can be useful in reducing tension in the moment as well as helping your brain to become more alert to when tension begins to build in your body. With sufficient, regular practice, you can catch tension building and take steps to reduce it before your muscles become so tight that you end up with a headache.
Muscle Tension Exercises
- Stand up and stretch your arms up over your head. Lean backward, with your spine arched.
- Count to 5.
- Resume a normal posture.
- Repeat 3 times
- Stand up and stretch your arm above your head.
- Bend your body towards the right, sliding your left hand down your right arm.
- Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.
- Do a total of 8 repetitions, 4 on each side.
Breathing exercises can help to reduce anxiety.
Being anxious or afraid causes our breathing to become more rapid and shallow. Our mind associates this shallow breathing with fear and panic. When we become anxious, take deep breaths – deep enough that, if a book was resting on your stomach you would see it rise and fall. This will help lower your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, lower your adrenaline response and leads to a more peaceful state of mind. If you practice this exercise preventatively it can help inoculate you against stress and anxiety.
- Place our hands lightly on your belly.
- Breathe in through your nose until your belly rises.
- Breathe out through your mouth for twice as long.
- Repeat 3 times.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.