With all of us on a lockdown level of sorts again due to Covid-19, we’re being faced with a lot more time staring at the four walls of our own homes – and sometimes struggling with it. Some say it’s a good idea to use the time to learn a new language, Kondo your cupboards, or at very least sage your borders. But if you’re anything like us, then you just want to feel more safe and secure during a truly unsettling period in our lives.
Anxiety is higher today than ever before, with many of us in a permanent fight-or-flight mode affecting our ability to feel at ease no matter what we’re doing. Some of us are more prone to anxiety than others, and some people even experience anxiety at a level that can be categorised as disordered behaviour, aka anxiety disorder. If you feel like you may be bordering on chronic when it comes to your anxiety levels, definitely seek a doctor for professional help, but we’ve also put together a few tips for helping stay calm when you feel like so much is out of your control.
This can be as simple as taking a walk in the morning or as challenging as creating a whole new exercise programme from the amazing offerings online at the moment. Many are free and local (we love what’s on offer at SALA), and allow you to choose exactly how hard – or gentle – you want to go on yourself. If you’re exercising in your local park make sure to still practice good social distancing though, and please do NOT let your high fives connect!
It’s also a great time to unroll that yoga mat and embrace the OM. Because yoga combines mindful movement with breathwork and meditation, it’s the ultimate de-stressing hobby. Check out the popular yoga app GLO and try everything from yoga for complete beginners to yoga for anxiety. GLO’s online classes range from five to ninety minutes, and students can pick from super physical “body” classes or more meditative mind and heart classes. The big plus though is that GLO works with some of the world’s best yoga teachers, so you get access to incredible resources for a fraction of the price.
Stop, sit and breathe
The next time your anxiety starts to take you out of the present, regain control by sitting down and taking a few deep breaths. Simply stopping and breathing can help restore a sense of personal balance and bring you back to the present moment. Breathing exercises don’t have to take a lot of time out of your day. It’s really just about setting aside some time to simply pay attention to your breath, and harnessing the significant effects it can have on your system.
Alternate nostril breathing, known as nadi shodhana pranayama in Sanskrit, is a breathing practice for relaxation popular among yogis. It’s been shown to lower heart rate. If you really want to go big, ‘Lion’s Breath’ is an energising yoga breathing practice that is said to relieve tension in your chest and face. You can find some great how-to’s for all of the above online, like this one by Yoga with Adriene.
Level up your self-care
Your skincare routine is a place where moving levels is always a good thing! Now is definitely the time to indulge in a little ritual when it comes to your daily skincare routine – you’ve got the hours to fill, and all those products sitting in your bathroom cabinet waiting for their time in the sun! This is where those cleansing oils come in. These work even better with a little facial massage and a clean, warm muslin to help infuse the good stuff as the oil goes to work removing the remains of the day.
Maybe incorporate a little at-home lymphatic drainage massage, and if you have a Gua Sha or rolling tool on hand, even better. Alder New York’s Gua Sha is a good place to start and super easy to use. Gua Sha is the ancient Chinese therapy of scraping the skin with a tool in combination with an oil, cream, or serum to improve the skin’s overall appearance via micro-circulation. Alder New York’s Gua Sha helps stimulate blood flow, reduces scar tissue, sculpts and lifts the face, moves stagnant fluid under the skin to de-puff, and makes the skin glow-ier over time. After a couple of days, you will see the difference.
You can use a gua sha anytime really, but we think first thing in the morning on clean skin with a few drops of your favourite oil or serum. Always follow up with plenty of water to further flush toxins out, and bask in your glow.
At times, it may be most helpful to simply redirect yourself to focus on something other than your anxiety. Depending on what works best for you, maybe you want to reach out to others via a phone call or do some work around your home or in your garden. Just sitting in a patch of sunlight can do wonders for your cortisol levels, and you’ll up your Vitamin D while you’re at it. This could also be the time you spend upskilling by learning a new language online but remember to go easy on yourself and treat it as a relaxing distraction, rather than a race for the finish line.