Routine can be a great thing. The knowingness that goes along with it. Feeling in control of time even while experiencing so much unpredictability. Transitioning to a work from home setup can have its challenges - finding the motivation to stick to that pre-COVID structure of morning workouts, showering, getting dressed, doing something with your hair other than a top knot. The list goes on and on. But apart from those decisions, finding a mental routine can make all the difference, even if you haven’t washed your hair. So here are five ways to help combat stress and help maintain just a smidge of sanity every day. And who knows, perhaps once life shifts back to the norm, a new routine will exist that lends itself to a clearer mind and new perspectives.
Journaling can take on many different forms but in an effort to make it as achievable and doable for anyone who already feels short on time, the 5 Minute Journal makes it simple and easy with structured prompts to start and finish the day with gratitude. It’s a great way to kick off your day with a focus on what’s good in life, and it can be super small things like the smell of coffee all the way up to the big things like a loving, supporting family. Either way, when you can focus on what you’re grateful for and how you’re going to make today awesome, it can lessen the effects of stress and what’s weighing on you.
We’ve all heard of it and how helpful it can be for the mind and body. Admittingly, it’s not the easiest task. In a time where things move so quickly, taking 15 minutes out of the day to sit quietly and focus on breathing seems nearly impossible. But, now is as good a time as any to try it. Meditation isn’t about turning off your thoughts, it’s about tuning into your thoughts and letting them pass through without judgement, without any feelings that may rise up. With practice it allows the mind to finally open up and release negative thoughts, negative energy and anything else you’re holding onto that you don’t need. There are days when it seems easier and there are days that might be harder, but over time meditation has the power to turn a situation that once REALLY stressed you out into something that doesn’t seem like a big deal at all.
If you'd like to try some guided meditation, follow this 10 minute meditation with Jenna!
3. Spend time outside. Spend time with your kids. Spend time with your fur babies.
This stress reliever is more of a fill in the blank. Maybe you need some alone time, maybe you need some good old Vitamin D or maybe giving your dog a good belly rub will do the trick. The point here is, take time to do what you enjoy. Having extra time at home with your kids, as chaotic as it may be, is something to value and find happiness in. There’s a reason “it’s the small victories” is a common catch phrase. The small victories lead to the big wins, but sometimes we have to slow down to really see how beautiful the simple things in life are.
Working out for many people is a form of active meditation, so while your usual workout may look a little different currently, let's just be grateful for the ability to move! Carve out the time whether it's for 15 minutes or 60 minutes - it helps reduce stress thanks to endorphins. J. Kip Matthews, Ph.D, sport and exercise psychologist describes how endorphins are structurally similar to the drug morphine and work in a similar way by activating receptors in the brain that minimize discomfort. They can also bring about feelings of euphoria and general well-being. We have those feel-good neurochemicals to thank for that post workout high. Staying active is a sure fire way to kick the stress and keep the good vibes and energy coming in.
5. Learn Something New
People often wish they had a little ‘extra time’. Without the usual commute and being limited with social gatherings and outings right now, time may be something that is a little easier to come by. With that, learning a new skill is a great way to refocus your efforts away from the stress and expand your knowledge or skills. There are so many online resources that make this easy to do - Skillshare, Cozymeal, MasterClass - just to name a few. So whether you’re learning how to cook a new recipe, or picking up a guitar for the first time, let the learnings take you to a stress free place.