Staying Calm in a Very Stressful Time

The current pandemic is causing stress and anxiety in varying degrees for most of us. Coming up with ways to handle this stress is going to be important especially since we don’t know how long this is going to last. There are simple techniques for handling stress and anxiety that can be helpful for adults and children as well. During times of stress our limbic system is highly activated. Our limbic system is the part of our brain that controls emotion, among other things. So if we can calm our limbic system we can reduce our experiences of stress and anxiety. Here are some ways to try and do that:

  • Exercise  (Highly effective)Walk, run, bike, do yoga, dance. It really doesn’t matter, just get moving. The research shows that for mild to moderate depression exercise may be as effective as antidepressants.
  • Get out in nature…taking a hike is great but hanging out in your backyard works too.
  • Sunshine
  • Meditation and/or breathing exercises…deep, slow rhythmic breathing
  • Rocking in a hammock or rocking chair ( think rocking a crying baby to soothe her).

Anything that engages your senses…such as:

  • Music-Listening or Playing
  • Warm baths or showers
  • Massage
  • Scents- such as lavender
  • Warm drinks (decaf)
  • Petting your cat or dog

This is not an all-inclusive list but it’s a good start.  What you DON’T want to do is hibernate alone in your dark bedroom in front of a computer screen watching Netflix for hours on end! You will end up feeling sluggish, more depressed and more anxious.  Give some of these suggestions a try!

About Gretchen Derda (Woosley), MSW, LCSW

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in a private psychotherapy practice where I specialize in work with families and children. My focus is to help families improve their functioning so that each member of the family can reach their full potential, becoming the persons they were meant to be.
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