Updated: Jul 6
For people with and without mental health issues, this is very difficult for all of us. Many of us are facing difficulties we’ve never faced before. These difficulties are causing people to have high levels of stress. I have provided 14 tips to help you destress during this time. If you can only do some and not all, no worries! No one has the right answer right now, so do what you can when you can. However, let me say that you do need to do something that will help you try and destress for a few minutes everyday.
You Brown Girls know I like to present facts, so here are the symptoms of stress and the effects it has on the body:
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
Physical symptoms of stress include:
Aches, pains, and tense muscles
Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
Frequent colds and infections
Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
Cognitive symptoms of stress include:
Forgetfulness and disorganization
Inability to focus
Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
Does any of this sound familiar to you? If it does, then hopefully these tips can help educate, support and uplift you!
Meditate - There’s something to be said about sitting still and quiet especially when your stress and anxiety levels are high. YouTube has several great videos that help calm you down during these times. They have videos that are 5 minutes long and longer. I usually mediate in the morning because that’s when my stress levels and anxiety are high. I find a quiet place to sit comfortably, put on a YouTube video and 5 or so minutes later I feel calm and relaxed.
Stay Hydrated - Studies have shown that dehydration leads to higher cortisol level (the stress hormone) making it harder to deal with everyday issues. By staying hydrated you will be better equipped to deal with everyday problems.
DeScreen - it’s okay to stay informed, especially during these uncertain times, but too much information can add to you stress levels. It has been highly suggested by several mental health doctors to NOT watch/listen to the news all day everyday. I would suggest that you pick a time frame to watch/listen to the news and once that time is over, turn it off or change the channel! It’s not healthy to keep doing something that causes you harm.
Create a Schedule - sometimes creating routine can help lower stress levels. Having something to do every hour or so breaks up the monotony of your day. Not only should you create a schedule, but if you can do activities in different parts of your home so that you are not in one place that can help as well. Having something to look forward to everyday instead of sitting idly gives you something to look forward to.
Binge Watch/Listen - somedays you may not feel like sticking to your routine, so don’t feel guilty if you just want Netflix and Chill! If you’re not a tv person, there are plenty of good podcasts to listen to as well.
If you’re a streaming person, here are a few good shows on Netflix to watch:
Ozark seasons 1-3
Love is Blind
If you’re into podcast, here are few I listen to and enjoy:
Off the Record
Tamara Till The Break of Dawn
Moms & Martinis
The Cut Podcast
SHE Gets It Podcast
J’s Quick 3
Accept That There Will Be Good Days and Bad Days - there will be days when you feel great and days when you don’t and that's ok. As you read above, high stress levels can wreak havoc on your body and some days you may just want to stay in bed and relax. If you do, don’t feel bad or guilty about it, but don’t stay down for too long as you don’t want to start a bad habit and fall into a depression.
Get Up and Move - depending on where you live, you may not be encouraged to leave the house except for certain reasons. However, don’t let that stop you from getting up and moving! There are plenty of apps and YouTube videos that can help you get up and move. Laying down and sitting for hours is not good for your body just like not drinking enough water isn’t good for you.
Take Time to Be Still - you don’t have to meditate to be still. Being still can mean many things to many people but to give you a few ideas:
Listening to music, an audiobook or podcast
Reading a book
Saying daily affirmations
Sit outside (if you can) and listen to nature
If you are religious, pray or read your holy book
Get To Know Yourself - take this time to get to know who you are. What do you value? What is important to you? What do you like or dislike? What are your hopes and dreams? How can you better yourself? Take advantage of the stillness and (re)discover who you are and make improvements!
Seek Help - here are numbers and websites that will help you in your time of need. Please know that you are NOT alone there is help out there.
For AA or NA virtual meeting, go to these websites:
To find a virtual therapist call your local hospital for recommendations
If you need help with abuse call these numbers:
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
National Child Abuse Hotline:
Deep Clean and Declutter - when stress affects the brain, the rest of the body suffers consequences as well. The physical benefits of cleaning a house are well established, from reducing fatigue to improving concentration. Exercise like housekeeping produces endorphins which improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
Take a Moment to Be Thankful/Positive - there is a lot of bad going on now and it’s hard to be thankful and positive at this time. However, if you can try and list the things you’re grateful for or list the positives that you experienced that can help lower your stress. Changing your outlook from negative to positive can do wonders for your mental state of mind.
As you read the blog I posted 2 weeks ago, #TheSh!tImGoingThroughNow, you know how I’ve been handling my stress and it wasn’t good. A few weeks later and I’m doing better because I’m taking my own advice, LOL! I allow myself to have a good cry every once and while, I ask for help, meditate and I take time to rest. However, I still have bad days.
My 2 Cents
These are uncertain times and it’s okay to not be okay, but don’t stay there.
Those of us who are predisposed to mental health challenges can backslide into a depressive episode, so if you need to, get help.
It wasn’t listed, but stay social as much as you can especially if you live alone. There are several apps that will allow you to see other people so take advantage of it
I don’t know when things will get better, but I have to think positive and believe they will.
Stay up Brown Girls, we got this and if not, that’s ok too!
Did you know that I now have a podcast? It's called, For My BrownGirls! Podcast and you can listen to it HERE!
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*I am not a licensed therapist. This post does not serve as a form of therapy or diagnosis. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 or your doctor.