Stress has been a common element in many of our lives long before the arrival of COVID-19. The added fear, isolation, and general upheaval of this pandemic brings extra hardship to a world already filled with challenge. However, we do not need to allow stress to dictate our lives. If we can recognize the moments in which we feel the pressure build, we may deploy one of many methods in our tool kit to regulate our state of mind and find our peaceful center.
Now is a better time than ever to connect with aspects of life that may offer us a sense of renewal and calm. While each person will resonate differently with the varying stress-relieving techniques, there are a few strategies that are proven to help those in distress. In this blog series, we will be sharing some of the tried-and-tested activities and exercises that take us out of a “fight or flight” state and into a “rest and digest” state. We will share some of the latest research on various strategies for stress relief, and you will hear from members of our team about how these activities have changed our lives for the better.
Before we begin showcasing our favorite stress-relieving endeavors, it’s important to note that the first step toward self-regulation is to recognize when we are feeling stressed. While it may seem self-evident, we can be operating under a veil of stress and not realize it. Our symptoms of stress may creep up under seemingly insignificant circumstances – it is not always obvious, but the effect on our bodies is real. If we do not stop to acknowledge the fact that we are in a stressed state and take action, we may exacerbate the situation and develop negative, spiraling patterns in response. Although we all respond to stress differently, common signs of a person experiencing acute stress can include increased heart rate, sweating, surges of irritability or anger, headache, difficult or shallow breathing, nausea, and inability to concentrate. Take notice of what the unique signals your body or mind sends when you are in a stressful situation.
If we devote our time and attention toward recognizing our stress signals and introducing calming activities during those moments, we may find that our lives become much more manageable and rich with meaning. Stay tuned on The Uplands Center’s blog for our series “Managing Stress” for our favorite ways to promote a peaceful and relaxed mentality.