Be Well, Stay Well: Tips for Reducing Stress & Staying Healthy—Without Panicking

Photo by Elton Sipp from Pexels

 As we hunker down, focusing on keeping our families and ourselves healthy and safe from the coronavirus, I’m sharing a round-up of valuable wellness tips that I’ve collected from a handful of local health and wellness providers, as well as a few of my own ideas.

Right now more than ever, we must remain proactive—and not panic. I know it’s hard and frustrating with bored kids out of school and stuck at home, businesses closing their doors, worries about work, and panic-buying at the grocery stores. (Yesterday, the store I went to had been almost completely wiped out of eggs.)

The more we reduce or manage our stress, the more we can boost our immunity and put good health in our favor. 

The providers below are members of the Wellness Consortium, an active group of Kansas City metro area practitioners and vendors who are passionate about whole person health. (When we are no longer required to practice social distancing, I highly recommend checking out this highly engaged networking group if you are involved/interested in wellness.)

Rest

“Getting sleep is a top priority,” says Miriam Kaseff, an integrative nutrition health coach and owner of Well Life With Miriam. “Sleep repairs muscles, helps improve our immune system and gives us the energy we need to stay strong both mentally and physically.” 

Practice a relaxing, low-key bedtime routine to prepare your body for sleep. Avoid binge-watching television, upsetting news or anxiety-inducing social media feeds just before bed too.

Photo by Christian Domingues from Pexels

Breathe—deeply

 Stopping to take deep breaths resets your brain when you are feeling panicky and anxious. Practice 4-7-8 breathing, Miriam suggests. Here’s how:

  • Breathe in for four seconds.
  • Hold your breath for 7 seconds
  • Breathe out for 8 seconds and try to empty your lungs.

“Complete this practice three to four times to relax your mind and body,” Miriam says.

This exercise is excellent for helping anxious kids relax too. If they are resistant, tell them that even the Navy Seals practice deep breathing exercises to help them manage highly stressful situations. 

Pause

“Pausing, instead of pushing to reduce anxiety, stress and high emotions responses, helps us feel connected,” says Angie Fisher, a reiki master and intuitive business coach. Try this beautiful, peaceful practice, courtesy of Angie, to feel more connected and find more joy:

  • Light a candle (optional) and find a quiet, comfy place
  • Close your eyes. With your hand on your heart, take deep breaths, inhaling loving light (any color that comes to you is fine). 
  • Exhale the heaviness, stress and uncertainty through your out breath. 
  • Allow the light to run through your body like a free flowing river
  • Let the emotions flow. Feel them.
  • Once you feel relaxed, imagine your body, whole and complete, enveloped in white light.
  • Tell your heart you trust it, love it and hear it.
  • Close your stillness with thinking of all things you are grateful for. 
  • Come back to this place, even mentally, when you feel tense or overwhelmed.

Want to learn more about reiki and ways Angie can support you? Check out RelaxwithReiki.net. (She even does distance reiki, which means you don’t have to leave your house!) 

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Refresh your space

While you are probably already going around the house disinfecting doorknobs and cleaning bathrooms and other high-use areas, this is also a good time to start lifting the energy in your home by removing clutter.

 “Productivity can focus our minds on something beyond our anxieties,” says Joanie Nicholas, owner of All Things Organized. “And the end result—less clutter—increases positive energy, reduces the stress that can lower our immune system and makes cleaning/disinfecting easier. 

Wash your hands—properly

I know, I know. You’ve heard this advice ad nauseum. But are you washing your hands for 20 seconds correctly? Marisa Gonzales, a visual brand strategist (storyteller) and web designer who builds beautiful websites for health and wellness entrepreneurs (including my website), is a former physical therapist assistant. 

During her time working with patients, she learned how to correctly wash hands—a technique that has only gotten more important as the mom of an active toddler! Here is an informative video she shared of how to wash your hands properly using public faucets.

Prevent transmission

Wondering how to prevent virus transmission during intercourse with your partner? Be informed. In her podcast episode “Getting Busy During a State of Emergency” Kristen Thomas, a Kansas City relationship, dating and sex coach and owner of Open the Doors Coaching, shares her candid tips for safe, pleasurable sex in the time of coronavirus. (This is an adults-only podcast. Use your headphones while listening.) 

Kristen reports that 3.6 percent of population is immunocompromised. “They cannot afford to be exposed to this virus. Be cautious and considerate about who this virus could affect,” she says. “Be kind, caring and considerate and think about the people around you who are doing everything they can (to protect themselves), but can get exposed to a lot of things easily.” 

Above all? Wash your hands!! (See Marisa’s video above or at the end of this post if you want a quick tutorial!)

Photo by Buenosia Carol from Pexels

Drink water

Keep your body hydrated. Water keeps all systems in your body functioning at an optimum level. Strive to drink half of your body weight in ounces. In other words, if you are 120 pounds you’ll want to drink 60 ounces of water a day. Try adding slices of lime, lemon or orange to you water if you’d like some flavoring and vitamin C. Check out this informative blog post from Dr. Michelle Robin, Your Wellness Connection. 

Move your body

Daily exercise boosts your immune system and helps your body stay strong. Get outside whenever you can to take a walk, run or bicycle. Being in nature and inhaling fresh air can boost your energy and calm your nerves. The movement will also help you manage your stress by discharging stress hormones that build up in the body when we feel anxious, worried, frustrated or angry. Can’t get outside? Stretch into some yoga (I like Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube) or put on some fun dance tunes and twist and shout! 

Try acupuncture

I’ve been going to Laura Ponce at the Your Wellness Connection for acupuncture for help treating my asthma. Studies are beginning to show that acupuncture is an immune booster and can be beneficial for fighting cancer, stress and inflammation.

Journal

Journaling is one of my go-to daily practices for managing my stress. Worries seem more manageable when I look at them on the page in black and white. Plus, I sleep better after  dumping my thoughts and worries on the page. Adding three to four gratitudes on the page at the end of the day can also help us maintain optimism during a frustrating time. 

Get creative

Boost your spirit with a creative practice, whether that’s writing, cooking, collaging, baking, painting or drawing. Even coloring in one of your kids’ coloring books or an adult coloring book can be relaxing. Art can be a refuge from daily stressors and can aid in healing the body, mind and spirit. Check out this literature review for more on the positive effects of creativity on health.  

What are your favorite immune boosting tips? Feel free to share and help others who are looking for proactive ways to enhance their overall wellbeing.

As always, if you are struggling with anxiety/depression or any kind of illness, please consult your physician. Wishing you and yours good health and wellness! 

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