Stress-relief Exercises to Protect your Mental Health

With the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), most of us are self-quarantined at home to prevent the spread of this infectious disease and to protect our loved ones. This pandemic situation may be overwhelming and stressful for a lot of people and that’s totally okay - remember that you’re not alone in this.

Stacking stones is a great form of meditation to ease stress, focus attention, and improve clarity of thought.

Self-care during this time is essential and includes our physical as well as mental health. In addition to a good night’s sleep and eating well, here are some mindfulness-based, indoor exercises that can help us reduce our stress level and protect our mental health during this difficult time, as well as in the future.

Yoga is an ancient practice that includes physical postures, breathing practices as well as meditation to help strengthen your body and calm your mind. It is an excellent stress-relief practice to start at home without the need for any equipment besides a mat or blanket and maybe a block. Grab your yoga mat or a blanket to sit on, find a quiet space in your house - inside or out, wherever you feel comfortable, and then you can enjoy this mind-body practice. When you combine a series of moving and stationary poses with deep breathing, you may notice it helps you get more flexible and eases your mind.

Tai-chi is meant to calm and condition the body, and achieve the balance between “Yin” and “Yang”.

Tai-chi is a gentle exercise that can be practiced at any age. With the continuous flowing body movements and the practice of “Qi” (the energy flow through the body), Tai-chi is commonly used in the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age, according to Harvard Health Publishing*. It’s the perfect solution if you’re looking for a low impact and slow-motion exercise to release your stress.

The idea behind meditation is “mindfulness”, focusing on the present moment, and being mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

Among the three, meditation is probably the easiest one to start. Meditation can be practiced at any time and anywhere you like, preferably somewhere quiet.

There are many different types of meditation including:

  • Walking meditation
  • Visualization
  • Breath-based
  • Focusing on a word or phrase (or Mantra meditation)

Practicing meditation can help increase calmness, physical relaxation, and overall well-being.

Other activities that you may find relaxing are:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Listening to music
  • Journaling
  • Gardening

All of the above stress-relief exercises can be accompanied by soothing music, which can help the practice to be more relaxing. If you’re not sure where to begin, there are plenty of free instruction videos online, as well as free apps, that can help you to get started. Hope this article helps you find the calming exercise that suits you best. If you have more activities that help you healthfully destress, please share them with your care team.

We encourage you to view this quarantine time as a way to unwind and as a time to spend with your family (or connect with them online). From your doctor and the rest of your care team, we wish you all well

Stay Strong,

From Your Unified Care Team