If you’re feeling overwhelmed or highly stressed, you’re not alone. A survey taken at the beginning of 2021 showed that nearly 84% of adults have reported experiencing at least some emotion associated with prolonged stress. Socializing is a fundamental aspect of being human and can serve as a huge part of well-being and stress relief, and after over a year of restrictions due to COVID-19, our mental health and well-being has been greatly impacted. Increased use of technology can also be another factor which can contribute to heightened levels of stress.
Prolonged stress significantly interferes with the balance of a healthy mind and body, stress can negatively impact our immune system, cardiovascular health, and worsen chronic pain and other medical conditions.
If you’re experiencing any of these feelings of prolonged stress and feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to take a step back and start caring for your mind, body, and soul. Here are methods to manage stress throughout this difficult time.
Daily Self-care Strategies
- Follow a healthy well-balanced diet
- Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep
- Exercise and stretch regularly
- Drink at least 64 oz. of water
- Get outside for some fresh air and sunshine
- Schedule breaks away from the screen
- Pick up hobbies that you enjoy
- Spend time with loved ones
- Take a few minutes for gratitude
When it comes to relieving stress, there is more and more research that supports the claim that laughter produces psychological benefits such as lowering symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. And it’s not just a short term solution, there are proven long term benefits too.
Short Term Benefits
- Stimulates the heart, lungs, and muscles
- Increases oxygen intake and circulation
- Increases the release of endorphins in the brain
- Activates and relieves our body’s stress response
- Leaves you feeling relaxed and eases tension in the body and brain
Long Term Benefits
- Improves the immune system
- Increases release of neuropeptides that combat stress and illness
- Relieves pain by increasing production of the body’s natural painkillers
- Improves ability to cope with difficult emotional situation
- Increases feelings and experiences of connection
- Lessens symptoms of depression and improves overall mood
We’d like to challenge you to lower your stress and get your fix of laughter this month with the stress-reducing practices below:
- Eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables every day for a whole week
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night for 1 week
- Call, text, or meet up with a friend 3 times this month
- Drink at least 64 oz. of water every day for a whole week
- Make it a habit this month to spend time with people who make you laugh
- Post photos, jokes, or videos that make you laugh
- When you’re feeling tense, do something that will make you belly laugh 3 times this month
- Pretend to laugh or giggle, our body cannot distinguish real vs. pretend laughter!
We hope you join us for this challenge, and if you do please be sure to tag us on social media!
And in the meantime, check out our blog series on COVID and workplace wellbeing!