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April 29, 2020

7 Tips for Relaxation and Stress Relief During COVID-19

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A woman with glasses sitting on a couch with coffee, reading a book

During these uncertain times, when fear is mounting every single day, it is vital to keep your mind focused and relaxed. Our mind controls our body, so if your mind goes haywire, so do your bodily functions. There are simple ways to unwind in the comfort of your home without going to a fancy retreat.

  1. Power of music – Many studies have shown that music therapy can decrease pain and stress and improve mood. The so-called “Mozart Effect” signifies the effect of music on a person’s health and well-being. Playing an instrument, singing, and just listening to them will calm the nerves and instill positive thoughts.
  2. Yoga – Yoga focuses on bringing harmony between your mind and body. From stretching exercises to meditation, Yoga covers a wide gamut of activities for the body and mind. There are a lot of online videos for beginners to get you started when the Yoga studios are still shut.
  3. Meditation – Walking meditation, or meditation in motion, is mindful walking when you are aware of each breath and step. It combines physical exercise with meditation and helps one focus on the present and combat negative feelings. Besides, you get the health benefit of adding extra steps to your routine.
  4. Reading/Writing – Reading inspirational quotes or motivational stories is another way to sustain positivity. Jotting down your thoughts/feelings also helps to reflect on yourself and on ways to improve interpersonal skills.
  5. Exercise – Exercise is not only to trim your waistline but also to rejuvenate your mind. Studies have consistently shown that exercise decreases the symptoms of mild to moderate depression and prevents relapses. Exercise makes the brain release endorphins that boost mood and energy and relieve stress.
  6. Gardening – Gardening helps in getting in touch with nature; the sweet smell of Lavender or the colorful petals of a rose can invoke optimism and happiness. It is also considered as a moderate-intensity exercise equivalent to brisk walking, swimming, or slow bicycling.
  7. Apps/online tools – There are apps like Headspace that teach basic coping techniques, and there are plenty of online videos from dance aerobics to mindful walking that can help tide over these stressful times.

As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that”. Similarly, anxiety cannot drive out uncertainty; only serenity can do that! Hence it is essential to stay calm and focus on your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, and together we will come out of this crisis successfully.

For more helpful information on COVID-19, visit our resource center.

Article written by:

Aparna Chandrasekaran

Aparna Chandrasekaran, MD, MBBS