I can't believe it's August! Do you remember back in March when they said the "lockdown" would only last a couple of weeks? LOL.
I'm just going to put it out there- I've been chronically stressed during this time. I've gone through a roller coaster of emotions and I've gone through days/weeks of feeling unmotivated, lonely, and scatterbrained. And I know I'm not the only one experiencing these feelings, so that's why I wrote this blog post!
Chronic stress is not only bad for you mentally, but it also harms you physically and spiritually, as well. Stress affects every function in your body on a cellular level and can make you more susceptible to diseases and viruses (ahem).
Your health is not only about what you eat and how often you exercise. Your mental, spiritual, and financial health, and even your relationships, impact your overall health. Today, I want to talk about investing in spiritual health and how it can help you manage stress and keep a positive outlook during this pandemic.
What is spirituality? A quick google search defines it as"the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things". Basically, it's a connection to a higher power. Some people have found spirituality through religion, others through meditation/mindfulness, and if you're like me, it's a combination of both! Having a healthy spiritual life can help you find a sense of peace and purpose, and has been clinically shown to improve peoples' overall quality of life.
I want to share with you some of the spiritual practices that have helped me stay grounded and manage my roller coaster of emotions during this pandemic. I can't promise they will fix all of your problems, but I bet that they will help you get a better grasp on your stress and possibly give you a sense of hope.
Meditation/breath work- at least 5 minutes a day. If meditation is a new concept to you, read my guide for beginners here. Spending at least 5 minutes in the morning connecting to your breath is incredibly powerful and will activate your parasympathetic nervous system to keep you relaxed.
Guided manifestations/visualizations- I am loving this right now! You basically put in your headphones, sit or lie down, and listen to someone guide you through a visualization of your future. Scientific studies have proven the positive effects of visualization, and this tool is exceptional right now to keep us sane. Think of all the cool things you can manifest for yourself once this pandemic is over!! There's tons of free guided visualizations on Youtube (just search "guided visualization"), and I've listed my favorite here:
Yoga Wake Up App- if you spend the first 10 minutes of your morning scrolling IG or the reading the news, this app is for you! This is a new app that can wake you up with 10 minute yoga, from the comfort of your bed. They have tons of guided yoga and meditations for you to choose from, and you can set them as your alarm. They sent me a trial to try the app, and I've been using this every morning to wake up- it is a GAME CHANGER. Goodbye blaring alarm, hello gentle yoga from bed! Learn more here. (PS- this is not sponsored, but yoga wake up did share a free trial with me!)
Journaling- If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed, misunderstood, or you feel like you can't control your emotions, journaling might be a great option for you. Journaling has long been known to help with stress, but studies have shown that regular journaling can also lead to better sleep, a stronger immune system and more self-confidence. I recommend writing for at least 15 minutes per day, and forget spelling/punctuation- just write quickly without thinking, and see what comes out. You might be surprised!
Lastly, there's no shame if you need to speak to a professional. These are unprecedented times, and you need to prioritize your mental and spiritual health. Sometimes working with a qualified, trained professional can help you manage your stress/anxiety. I saw a therapist for close to a year as I was trying to navigate my twenties, and I recently decided to start seeing a therapist again due to my stress levels during this pandemic. I wrote a blog post on my experience seeing a therapist here.