Most of us are feeling anxious these days. My anxiety level is well over its normal limit, due to fear and uncertainty. After having a meltdown, I decided to look at what I can do-in addition to traditional exercise and within the confines of this strange time-to alleviate some stress. I hope these ideas will work for you, too.
I love meditating-well, for 5-10 minutes; that's about all my attention span will allow most days. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of meditation, such as reducing stress, increasing focus, and improving sleep quality.
With the proliferation of meditation apps, it's easy to get started. Many of the apps are free, and there are also guided meditations on YouTube. I've been using the app, "Balance," recently and I picked the 5-minute option to start. Who doesn't have 5 minutes? When I finish a session, I feel much more relaxed.
We all know getting outside is good for us. Studies show that venturing out helps improve mood, increase vitamin D intake, and lower inflammation.
I try and take a walk first thing in the morning, and then again later in the day with the family. Walking is not only a great stress reliever, but a low-impact way to burn calories.
While we're on the topic of the great outdoors, some alternative medicine practitioners are touting a therapeutic trend called "grounding," also called "earthing." The concept behind the practice is to do activities-barefoot if possible-that "ground" you, or electrically reconnect you, to the earth. Though there is not much research yet on grounding, limited studies have shown that electrical charges from the earth can benefit your body in various ways.
Whether you call it "grounding" or just taking a walk, remember to stay socially distant while you're outside.
Talk to your people
Whether you live alone or not, interacting with people outside your home is important. Whether it's just a call over the phone or by Zoom video, it's healthy to connect with people. I've been missing my extended family and friends so I've started to reach out to them more often.
Bonus points: You can combine two of my tips into one by calling a friend while you walk.
I love to journal, especially now that I'm a father. I like to capture things my kids say, jot down random ideas-and a journal is a safe place to complain about anything and everything. As the quarantine goes on, now more than ever, we need a place to vent. I've noticed that once I get my frustrations and fears down on paper, relief comes almost instantaneously. While journaling does not replace a good therapist, it can be very therapeutic.
Seize the day
There's no time like the present quarantine to start a project. One of my biggest life goals is to write novels, so I try and spend at least 30 minutes each night writing. My creative juices start to flow, I stop worrying about what I cannot control, and I feel productive. Now is a great time to start a hobby, tackle a big hairy goal, or just organize your house one pile at a time.
Ron Krit is the Senior Director of Endowment Development for JUF and a Wellness Consultant.