7 Habits to Reduce Stress, Feel Better, Be More Poised and Prepared — aka, How to Make Peace with Quarantine Life
We all have the opportunity to press reset and renew our commitment to making the best of it.
We are (still) going through unprecedented change and stress right now. The whole world feels it — pressure, looming undefined (potentially unending) threats, and restricted freedoms. We are handling it in many different ways, some healthy, some not so much.
At the beginning of lockdown, many of us found ourselves overeating, turning to alcohol, hoarding supplies, obsessing over the news, hiding under the covers, or escaping to nature to manage the uncertainty. I joined a wine club, bought a chest freezer, made dozens of homemade masks, starting cooking, baking, and writing like crazy, doubled down on my accelerating my business, and compulsively set goals — it’s been a mixed bag.
You Don’t Have to Justify Your Response to This Crisis to Anyone
Thoughts on Fate, Family, and Productivity.
No matter how we have coped to date, we all have the opportunity to press reset at any time and renew our commitment to making the best of it. There are proven methods to combat stress and help us feel more settled and prepared for what may or may not come.
We all have to find the line that works for us — a path of gentle acceptance, patience, and love, and the motivation, resilience, and perspective to endure.
#1 Deep Breathing
The first strategy is the most obvious, the most powerful, and the easiest. Deep breathing works when you’re scared, tense, threatened, overwhelmed, paralyzed, angry, or frustrated because it gives us an outlet to assess our feelings, see our circumstances more clearly, and choose our next move more effectively.
It also works by bringing us back to the present to connect more deeply, dive more fully into our thoughts or bodies, and face what is more proactively. We have so much more control and optionality when we can respond instead of reacting.
After deep breathing, journaling is next best. It’s an effective method in dealing with stress, doing better work, developing self-acceptance, and visualizing and even creating a better future. It gives us a sense of purpose, empathy, and possibility.
Journaling allows us to examine our thoughts, work out our truths, be more creative, imaginative, innovative, and inspired, and note our progress along the way.
#3 Ask essential questions
Consider what’s truly bothering you, what’s keeping you up at night, or preventing your happiness. First, ask yourself if it’s real. We often carry worries and stressors out of habit. If it is real, ask yourself what it would take to overcome the belief or situation once and for all.
Then, make a plan to overcome it. Start with the end in mind, reverse engineer the outcome, and keep it high-vibe as you do the work. Stay focused on what it will mean to have it resolved. Instead of asking why me or why is this happening, ask what if I knew how or what if I have the resources I need?
#4 Strengthening your spirit
Look for inspiration all around you and tune into what motivates you. If it’s moving your body, reading a book, investing in education, or getting out and about, know what lights you up and make time for those things.
The world is full of clues that can make our journeys easier, more straightforward, more meaningful, and more enticing, but we have to pay attention, expand our self-awareness, and apply the lessons as we go.
#5 Go outside
There is no substitute for nature. It refuels and reinvigorates, calms us, heals us, and reminds us of universal truths. Get out of your head and feel alive by doing something physical outdoors.
Feel the sensations of nature — the breeze, the sunset, the smells, the sounds, the beauty, the enormity, the constants, and the impermanence. It’s free and life-affirming.
#6 Do simple things that you love
Make time for simple pleasures and be mindful and intentional about what feels good. You can multitask when it comes to busy work, at the end of a long day, or if you’ve already accomplished your win for the day. That’s the time to pair laundry with conference calls or listening to podcasts while gardening.
But when it comes to something you love — cooking, playing with the kids, writing, reading, or creative pursuits, be wholly (and holy) there to get into a flow state and spiritually lose yourself.
#7 Create a better future
Proactively plan your best life: Consume new ideas, learn new skills, invest in yourself, your business, your health, and your family. Take steps toward what you want, the experiences you desire, and let go of habits or beliefs that are getting in your way. Never lose sight of the preciousness and urgency of life.
A pandemic is a wake-up call for many reasons, and also a perfect opportunity to reevaluate the path you’re on and upgrade your choices, influences, thoughts, and behaviors. Imagine the power of looking back on this time as a defining moment that changed your life for the better.