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Breathe -Exercise- Create De-stress 

In this current situation, even if deep inside we know, that at some point we will all get through it, the pressure is at an all-time high. Whilst in lockdown, there are few opportunities to blow off steam, making it harder for us to enjoy our precious life. Stress is the body’s natural response to a difficult situation. Anxiety thrives on stress. As a result, it is possible to feel unmotivated, unfocused, and unable to sleep well. To help you managing stress and achieve a problem-solving mindset, you can do simple activities without incurring additional financial expenses. So, what can you do? Below are some examples of things you can do to help you manage stress and support your health during these challenging times. 

Boost your energy levels with proper breathing!

When we breathe, we feed every cell of our body with oxygen.  When we are stressed, we don’t breathe the way we should, we take shallow breaths raising our shoulders instead of our diaphragm.  This type of breathing creates a stressful experience for our bodies. The way we breathe affects us mentally, physically, and also emotionally. Breathing techniques can boost our immune system and are great for stress management. 

You can try different breathing techniques. Belly breathing is an easy technique to learn. You do not need any equipment, you can do it anywhere, and anytime when you are tense or feel anxious or just as a way to restore your energy. It is a great way to help you to start your day and relax at the end of the day before you fall asleep. Practicing proper breathing every day strengthens your diaphragm, relieves stress, reduces tension, and improves your mental and lung function.

●     Belly breathing technique. 

Boost your energy with this technique. Belly breathing fully engages the diaphragm, your body’s breathing muscle. Try this breathing daily for at least 5 to 10 minutes.

  1. Relax your shoulders and lie down or sit in a comfortable position.
  2. Close your eyes (if you wish).
  3. Put one hand over your belly (just below your ribs), place the other hand on your chest. 
  4. Take a slow deep breath in for the count of two through your nose as if you are smelling a rose (as you breathe in the hand on your chest should remain as still as possible, your belly should move outward against your hand).
  5. Breathe out very slowly through purse lips for four counts, as though you were whistling.
  6. Repeat 4 times.

Tips: 
●    Focus your attention on your breath. You can imagine yourself breathing something you like. Perhaps the aroma of a cup of coffee or a cup of chocolate or the scent of a rose. 
 
You can teach the same technique to your child. Most children do not know how to take a deep breath. It is a great exercise that they can do by themselves when they feel a need to feel calm. You can ask your child to hold a feather or a flower. Tell them the feather or petals should flutter as they breathe out.

 Reduce stress Skrivanek  Image by khamkhor

Reduce stress Skrivanek  

Exercise-Don’t let a small space limit you

Living in a small space is not a legitimate excuse for not staying active. At-home workouts are the key to your fitness. You can train at home with almost no equipment.

  • Yoga and Pilates

With only a little floor space and an exercise mat, you can perform these activities.

  •  Wall squats

You can use the wall as equipment for wall-squats. A balance ball makes a good substitute for a bench and gives you the added benefit of a stability workout. 

  • Dumbbell curls and presses

You can use full water bottles for curls and presses. Resistance bands are cheap, highly portable, and isolate muscle groups.

  • A workout video

Another excellent option for exercising at home. You can find plenty of these videos available online, they rarely involve any other additional equipment, besides yourself.

Are workouts effective?
With a little time, and effort your workout at home can be just as effective as a gym workout. It all depends on you. Perhaps, you could motivate your family member and together plan a daily program.

Create

Creating is a great way to express your emotions, fuel your inspiration, and keep a positive outlook on life. It is not about becoming an artist is about giving yourself a safe outlet for expressing your emotions. There are many simple activities you could try at home. At home, you can try many simple activities. If you live alone, you can do these activities by yourself. If you have a family, any creative activity is an excellent way to support a healthy family atmosphere. Then let’s express yourself creatively to cheer yourself up. 

●    Bread-baking

Baking is an art form, and a stress reliever easing anxiety. With cheap ingredients, you can explore making your bread. Baking requires focus and awareness.  Measuring the ingredients, rolling out the dough it gives you focus and grounds you in the present moment. With rolling, and kneading the dough, and the aroma of your own freshly baked bread, you will experience a feeling of accomplishment and relief of stress. You could also decide to bake for others.  Maybe you will find it unexpectedly fulfilling! Finding great recipes could be part of the creative experience. You don’t need a lot of ingredients.  The flour you enjoy (sourdough, rice, white, or any other type), salt, species, and perhaps nuts!

 Reduce stress Skrivanek  Image by Adela Hloubova 

Macro Photography and close-up.   

Reduce stress Skrivanek  Image by Lily Giraud

When was the last time that you stopped to observe what surrounds you? Would you agree that the smallest things can be just as inspiring as the biggest ones? You could take pictures from your balcony or your window, or you could explore your house for anything interesting to photograph, such as shapes, colors, or food. You only need a smartphone, a tablet, or a photographic camera.

 Reduce Stress SkrivanekImage by Lily Giraud

By engaging your imagination with creative expression, you will strengthen the communication with yourself and with your family. You can then upload your photos to your network, and inspire others to create.

Playing Video games

Recent studies indicate that there is a link between playing video games and stress relief. Researchers at the University of Central Florida have shown that playing video games during breaks helps to restore the mood in response to stress. Another study found that playing video games makes us more proficient in problem-solving, which is a stress reliever. Find games you enjoy, games that build skills, and observe how you feel after you play, then choose which game to play next.

Find what works for you, and let your feelings and thinking support your wellbeing  

Searching for Affective and Cognitive Restoration: Examining the Restorative Effects of Casual Video Game Play. Human Factors, 2017
Everyday creative activity as a path to flourishing https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2016.1257049

Mgr. Liliana Sanchez G.