Parks are open again, and universities went back to in-person classes starting this fall. Despite the easing of restrictions related to the dangers of COVID-19, pandemicfear is still real.
Staying indoors is still the best way to avoid the virus; you might be living in a house or a condominium unit, with other people or alone.However, it has some adverse effects on people’s mental health. If you find your stress at an all-time high staying indoors, there are activities you can do todestress at home. There are ways you can reduce your stress and anxiety.
How does stress affect your body?
When you are stressed, your body releases the stress hormone called cortisol. The presence of high levels of cortisol in the body affects your skin, muscles, brain, and other parts of the body.Some profound ways elevated cortisol levels affect your body are by increasing blood pressure, increasing blood sugar, and decreasing your body’s immune response.
This is the reason you gain weight when you are in a stressful environment. You also find it difficult to sleep and develop problems with digestion.
How can you destress at home?
Mediating has a lot of benefits for your mental health. Have you ever tried breathing in and out deeply when you are panicking or when you are nervous? Breathing deeply over a few minutes increases the supply of oxygen to your brain. When this happens, your brain produces calming and relaxing effects.
A simple breathing exercise you can do is to breathe deeply through the nose. Put one hand on your stomach and feel it rise over your chest. Hold for five seconds, then breathe out as slow as possible through the mouth. Do it for a few minutes to help you relax.
If you do breathing exercises to calm down, then you will find meditating helpful. Here is how you can do it.
- To meditate, you need to be in a quiet environment free of distractions.
- Choose a mantra, a phrase, or a word that you would like to repeat during the whole meditation process.
- Sit comfortably.
- Close your eyes and begin taking deep breaths
- Repeat your mantra in your mind. Don’t say it out loud.
- Don’t stop your thoughts.
You can practice doing meditations in shorter periods in the beginning. Once you get comfortable with silence and being alone with yourself, you can go on for longer. You will find that doing meditations in the morning will help you find peace all day long.
2. Explore hobbies
This is a fun way you can reduce stress. Find an activity that you enjoy. It could be an old hobby that you forgot about. Or you can also explore new things.
You can try crafting or crocheting. Knit a scarf for yourself or start gardening. Whatever hobby you choose, allot an hour or less every day doing it. This will inject some fun into your stale routine. It will give you something to look forward to every time you wake up. Getting busy will take your mind off your worries and anxious thoughts.
3. Play with a pet
Having pets is proven to help people deal with the stress and feelings of isolation brought by the pandemic. If you already have a pet, you know how powerful it is to bond with them. This is why animal-assisted therapy is used for people dealing with severe mental health issues.
Playing with a pet reduces your stress hormones. This effect is almost immediate. Just five minutes of playing with your pet cat or dog increase your serotonin and dopamine levels. Serotonin is a hormone known to regulate mood, while dopamine is known as the feel-good hormone.
4. Get expert help
If you notice that nothing you do improves your mental health, it’s best to get help from an expert. Exposure to so much stress and anxiety often leads to depression. Psychiatric centers offer telemedicine so you can schedule a consultation without having to leave your home. There are different options for therapy that you can get.
They will assess your condition and recommend treatments and medication. Even if you are not diagnosed with a serious mental disorder, therapists always have their doors open. Sometimes, all you need is someone to listen to you without judgment.
Almost two years into the pandemic, the effects of COVID-19 are still felt. It’s normal to feel afraid and anxious about the current situation the world is in. However, you should know that, although you are staying indoors, you are not alone.