Our nervous system has a direct impact on our immune health. Unfortunately, as we all know, it is an exceptionally tough time to regulate our nervous system and a very inconvenient time to jeopardize our immune health. It's a dilemma, no doubt, but there are absolutely steps you can take to mitigate the effects of stress on your health and restore some balance to your system.
While we are in no way medical professionals (and if you are dealing with serious mental illness, please seek professional care), if you're in a pinch or experiencing mild symptoms, these are a few tricks that have successfully gotten us through difficult moments.
Employ self-soothing techniques.
When you're feeling physically or emotionally overwhelmed, self-soothing is a great way to recharge. We innately know when we need a little soothing — often times, this is the exact moment we reach for our vices (scrolling Instagram, a glass of wine, a box of cookies, a trash TV binge...). Instead, try responding to those impulses with a self-soothing exercise.
- Light a scented candle that reminds you of a place or person that makes you feel safe.
- Make a mental list of your favorite things: people, songs, pets, places, books, poems, outfits, hobbies.
- Give yourself a regulating hug: place your right hand across your heart and put your palm against your body with your hand under your armpit. Take your left arm across the body towards the right and hold your own deltoid or upper arm close to your shoulder for a calming self-hug.
- Listen to music you find calming and soothing.
- Take a break to pet your animal.
- Make yourself a warm beverage and drink it slowly. Focus on the taste, sensation, and smell of every sip.
Grounding is all about reconnecting with the earth. You can do that physically or mentally, but the point is to pull yourself back into your body and the present moment. If you're feeling a lack of control or racing thoughts, this is a good method to play with.
- Go outside, take off your shoes and put your feet on the earth.
- Touch various objects around you with intention: your desk, your chair, a wall. Remember to breathe and focus on the object you're touching.
- Notice your body. Notice how you are supported by your chair, and your chair is supported by the floor. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Unclench your jaw. Relax your tongue. Blink your eyes.
- Listen for five things you can hear. The woosh of cars outside, birds chirping, a door opening and closing in the background...
- Put a cool washcloth on your forehead. Bonus points if you have lavender essential oil — add a few drops for extra relaxation.
Take a YouTube break.
YouTube isn't just a black hole of addictive videos — it's also home to a bounty of super helpful, free resources. Whether you have five minutes or five hours, you can find something that fits your lifestyle.
Gentle, calming movement you can do in any sized space. It’s designed to help you cultivate balance, peace and poise. This type of practice invites you to use the power tools of breath, movement and discipline to get clear about what you want.
Mindful breathing can be very helpful in dealing with anxiety and depression. In this self-help video, learn how to do a breathing exercise that will bring relief to your anxiety and depression.
Close your eyes, breathe, and listen to a calming voice for five minutes. We guarantee you'll feel like a new person by the time the video ends.