Ways To Keep Yourself Calm Despite Coronavirus Concerns | Stamford Moms

by Sarah Swanberg MS LAC
Stamford Mom, Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist and founder of
Indigo Wellness Group in Stamford

Wow. If you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t expect this to happen so fast. I’ll be honest, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, and I’m guessing you are too. So, let’s take a deep breath together and trust that, with the help of this amazing and supportive community, we are going to get through this.

It’s challenging to stay calm with all of the unknowns, but it really is in our best interest to try, so I put together a few tips to help.

1. BREATHE. Have you noticed that when you start to get anxious your breathing becomes shallow? That’s our body’s way of prioritizing oxygen as part of the stress response designed to get us out of dangerous situations, which might be helpful if you need to run away from an attacking tiger, but this “fight or flight” reaction is meant to be temporary. When that switch stays turned on, it can quickly burn out our energy and immunity reserves. So if you notice that you’re feeling anxious, focus on slowing down and deepening your breath. This acts as an override to that stress response and tells your body that you’re safe. Deep breathing also helps strengthen our lungs, making us more resilient when fighting respiratory illnesses. Stuck at home with the kids? Turn this into a “belly breathing” game with them! Lie down on the floor and put a small toy (like a car) on your bellies and practice breathing deep enough that the toy moves up and down! 

2. TAKE A NATURE PILL: Research has shown that as little as 20 minutes outside in nature can increase happiness and decrease physical and mental stress. You might take a walk, hop on your bike, or just go find a bench to sit on, but try to do this without engaging with technology. Take your kids with you on a walk and play a game of “I spy” or notice all the different colored buds on the trees. Just a short time disconnecting from the news and engaging with nature can make a HUGE difference in your mood.

3. WATCH YOUR WORDS LIKE YOU WASH YOUR HANDS: By now, you’ve probably seen a thousand hand washing memes and dances- frequent hand washing is key to slowing the spread of diseases like this. But panic is contagious, too, so let’s also take equal precaution with the stories we share. We’re all eager to learn more information, so it’s easy to want to join in on the game of “my husband’s cousin’s sister said we’ll be on lockdown through the summer” telephone, but sometimes spreading these unverified news tidbits harms more than it helps and sends us all into a panic. They way I see it, we all have a responsibility to help each other through this both physically AND emotionally, so let’s do our best to not add any unnecessary fuel to the collective anxiety fire. 

4. PLANT POWER: Nature has a pretty amazing selection of calming herbs. Some of my favorite ways to destress with plants: diffusing Lavender essential oil or putting a drop on the bottoms of my feet, steeping a hot mug of Lemon Balm tea, or grabbing a tincture of CBD.

5. GRATITUDE ATTITUDE: It’s easy to get caught in a worry spiral with all the news right now, but pausing to take a moment to think about what we DO have can really help slow down the “fear freight train” as I like to call it. This is a great exercise to do with your kids. Challenge each other to name 3 things you are grateful for- people, places, things.. there are no rules here, the idea is to just focus on things that make you happy, which will in turn encourage you to look out for things to be grateful for throughout the day.. Making a habit of creating gratitude lists- either outloud or in journal form- is clinically proven to improve mood!

Need more support? As we prepare for the likely transition away from our physical acupuncture practice, we are putting together an online resource where our community can access acupressure tutorials, guided mediations, yoga classes, nutrition guidance and more. If you’re interested in an online classes, check them out here!

All photos in post by Julia Dags

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