2020 has been the year of dramatic changes to almost every facet of our lives. There's no clear timeline of 'when' or 'if' things will return to 'normal.' Yet, stressing about possible future outcomes won't change the situation.
If you feel stressed or anxious during these uncertain times, here are three lifestyle changes we at Mind and Body Counseling Associates, Reno, Nevada, have identified to help manage your intrusive thoughts and current situation better.
'Mindfulness' sounds philosophical, but it's very simple, only requiring some practice. To be mindful is focusing on being present, having intent with every action you do, and acknowledging your feelings without judgment. Due to Covid-19, your time of daily routines like commuting to work or time alone at home without the kids is no longer available. Therefore, you need to make a conscious effort to set time aside to practice mindful activities each day.
Before everyone is awake, ground yourself by spending a few minutes meditating. Focus on deep breathing exercises, feeling the sensations of squeezing your muscles from your toes to your head, and being present in the moment. If you find solace in exercise, try yoga or going for a run, focusing on the sounds of your shoes hitting the ground and your breathing.
2. Eating Close to the Earth
While mindfulness helps you focus on using all your senses for every bite of food, we recommend that you eat close to the earth – although not in the literal sense. Choose whole, real foods that haven't been altered from their natural state. Forget the fast, processed, or convenient foods – they may be tempting, but they're not doing you any favors in managing your stress and anxiety.
Food gives you all the energy needed to grow and prosper, and can be an experience in and of itself – that's if you allow it to be. Nourishment promotes wellness from within you, yet with the distractions of Covid and all its new routines and 'normals,' you may have forgotten the profound pleasures in food. Recently picked food in its original state contains more of its life force, giving your body a greater store of energy and nutrients.
3. Show Kindness
Something as simple as being mindful and eating close to the earth shows kindness to yourself, your community, and the planet. By choosing fresh produce, you're helping the value chain and supporting farmers directly, which makes each bite into that ripe fruit you’re snacking on all that sweeter.
Expressing kindness can be helping others in your community, reaching out to friends and family, offering your time or expertise, or joining local groups – even over Zoom. If you've ever wanted to join a choir, help an animal shelter, or go grocery shopping for an elderly person in your community - now is the time to do it. The only thing you should expect in return for your kindness is to ease your pain, increase your energy levels, and reduce your high blood pressure.
If you have attempted all of the above and still feel unable to cope with your anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, get in touch with us here. Mental health is an essential medical service for the community. Therefore, we at Mind and Body Counseling Associates, Reno, Nevada, remain open during this crisis and continue to provide clients' services both in-person or via telehealth HIPPA approved platforms.