Wednesday, June 24, 2020

You may be feeling extra stress and anxiety with the unexpected changes to your life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s important to know that you are not alone in these struggles and there are simple ways you can de-stress.

Stress comes in many forms and can have a significant impact on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. It can lead to sleeping problems, difficulties concentrating, changes to eating habits and/or increased use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs.

As we continue to battle uncertainties in the weeks and months ahead, take a moment for mindfulness — the idea of being aware of what is going on in your body and around you in the present moment. It’s about not judging yourself for what you may be feeling or experiencing in those moments — the good and the bad.

To help you reduce anxiety, manage your stress and cope with difficult situations, take a few minutes to try the ancient practice of mindful meditation. Here are tips from the non-profit organization, Mindful, on how to get started.

  • Sit in a comfortable and calm place.  
  • Set a time limit for the meditation. If just beginning, you may opt for a five or 10-minute session. 
  • Notice your body. Make sure to sit in a stable position that you can stay in for a while. 
  • Feel your breath. Follow the sensations of your breath as you inhale and exhale. Take a deep breath in through your nose and count to four, hold for one second then slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat. 
  • Notice when your mind wanders and be kind to yourself. Don’t judge yourself if your mind wanders during the meditation — it’s normal. If you notice this happening, simply return your attention to your breathing exercises.  

In addition to taking time to recharge through mindful meditation, it’s also important to keep active, eat healthy, get plenty of rest, stay connected to your family members and friends (even from a distance), and do activities that you enjoy or that bring you peace, like going for a walk, reading a good book or watching a movie. 

Norman Regional remains committed to your health. Learn more about our telemedicine offerings and stay up-to-date on Norman Regional’s COVID-19 response efforts, which includes details on what to do if you think you may have COVID-19. 

If you continue to struggle with stress, anxiety and depression, Norman Regional’s Behavioral Medicine Service may be able to help. Please call the service’s 24-hour information and referral line at 405-307-5555.