Comprehensive & Compassionate Mental Health Services in Butte County

Self Care Bulletin

"DOSING" ACTIVITIES FOR BETTER STRESS RELIEF

In the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and response, many of us are experiencing increased fear and anxiety as well as feelings of isolation and loneliness. While short times of stress are not inherently harmful, the prolonged and/or unpredictable presence of stress can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.

Now more than ever, it is important to regulate our baseline stress with activities that work from the "bottom up", that is, at a physical, emotional level rather than a cognitive, "top down" level. Trying to calm ourselves with logic alone is not going to work during this time of uncertainty and prolonged stress.

Some examples of activities that regulate stress from the "bottom up" are: walking, playing music, coloring or doing an art/craft project, playing a video game, doing yoga, stretching, focusing on breathing.

These stress-regulating activities are far more effective when dosed out over the period of the day. For example, going for a 45-minute walk one time a day may only regulate your feelings of stress and anxiety for an hour or two. You'd be much better off to dose your walk into five minute intervals sprinkled throughout your day.

Another way to regulate stress is to limit your contact with social media, tv, and other sources of stressful news. Limit your exposure to the stressful things that are out of your control, and give yourself two news- free and social media-free hours before bedtime.

To learn more about how to reduce baseline anxiety for yourself and your family during the COVID-19 pandemic, listen to this interview with trauma specialist Dr. Bruce Perry.

LAUGHTER YOGA

You don't need a medical degree to know that laughing feels good. But did you know that medical studies have shown that laughter works to decrease stress hormones, improve the immune system, and boost endorphins?

While cranking up that show that hits your funny bone might work great for you, it turns out that "fake" laughter works just as well to reduce stress.

To learn about Laughter Yoga, follow the link to a TedMed Talk from Laughter Yoga creator, Dr. Madan Kataria.

TRY THIS:

INTERVIEWS WITH DAVID KESSLER ON COVID-19 & COLLECTIVE GRIEF

David Kessler is one of the world's foremost experts on grief. He is the co-creator of the well-known 5 Phases of Grief, to which he has added a 6th: Finding Meaning.

He is offering helpful perspective on the collective grief we are currently experiencing due to COVID-19. Check out one or all of these resources to learn more.

ARTICLE | HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

"That Discomfort You're Feeling is Grief"

PODCAST | TEN PERCENT HAPPIER

"Why We're All Grieving, & How To Deal with It"

WEBSITE | GRIEF.COM

grief.com/covid-19/