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Guest Writer: Megan Lane on "5 Easy Stress Management Tips during Coronavirus"

PHOTO: Pensive Girl courtesy of WIX

Today's guest writer for my blog is Megan Lane. Megan is a 29-year-old New York-based writer. She was employed as a journalist by several newspapers in her early twenties. After taking a hiatus to focus on her mental health, she started freelancing writing career. Her work can be found on various sites, including HuffPost, Insider, and Parents Magazine.

Easy Stress Management Tips during Coronavirus

by Megan Lane

The constant news regarding coronavirus has the world feeling stressed and fearful. We wonder, "What will happen next?” If you are looking for ways to manage your stress throughout these trying times, this easy guide for alleviating anxiety may prove beneficial.

1. Remember to Breathe

Life can be so overwhelming, we often forget to stop and breathe. Your regular breathing is essential because it keeps you alive. But if you‘re interested in breathing for your emotional wellbeing, there is a breath-work technique you can use. The best breathing exercise for reducing anxiety is yogic, or ”ocean,” breathing. Relax your facial features, unclench your jaw, and smooth out the space between your inner-brow. You can sit upright or lay down — however you feel most comfortable. First, place one hand over your heart and the other on your abdomen. And remember, your lips stay sealed the entire time.

Inhale deeply through your nose for four seconds. Hold your breath for one second. Tighten the back of your throat, to reduce the amount of oxygen released, while you exhale for five seconds. Pause and repeat. With each inhalation and exhalation, notice as your belly and chest inflate and deflate like a balloon. Feel your hands rise and sink with each breath. Studies have shown yogic breathing can actually slow down a person’s heart rate, minimizing anxiety or stress.

2. Bake Desserts

Maybe you like baking, or maybe you don’t, but we all love sweets! If you aren’t bingeing through some of our favorite Netflix baking shows -- Great British Bake-off anyone?! -- then why not try to bake something yourself. Pioneer Woman has great comfort cooking, and is currently using her kids as her film crew, as well as Barefoot Contessa.

No matter what you use to manage your stress right now, remember the dust will settle eventually and life will return to normal. The coronavirus swept in like a tornado and many of us have never lived through a pandemic before now. Implementing stress management skills will allow you to live your life without your fears consuming you. Don’t forget, you are much stronger than you realize.

3. Start Journaling

Embrace your feelings by recognizing and naming your emotions. This can increase mindfulness and minimize stress levels. Write a brief description of how you’re feeling in a journal. At the end of each week, you can track the ups and downs you went through. Having the ability to see that everything, including the way we feel, is impermanent will help your state of mind.

4. Try Therapy

Baring your soul and exposing some vulnerability illustrates bravery, not weakness. While the large majority of mental health clinics are shut down due to COVID-19, a quick Google search will show you all of the practitioners that are offering teletherapy as an alternative. Reaping the benefits of therapy from the safety of your own home will have you saying, "Yes to less stress!” in no time.

5. Exercise

Exercise releases serotonin and endorphins, commonly referred to as ‘feel-good’ chemicals. You can go for walks around your neighborhood every day without risking contracting COVID-19. Walking is considered one of the best forms of exercise. There are YouTube tutorials and many yoga studios have jumped on the bandwagon and are now offering free live streaming sessions.

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