There’s only so much that relaxation exercises can do for us when there are outside circumstances creating stress and even panic in people around us.
One of the things you may already do, and I do this as well, is limit your exposure to the news. Yet these days it comes to us from so many sources. People want to talk about it to us, we see it on our social media feeds, and there are TVs and radios playing when we go in and out of stores or offices on our daily travels.
During these kinds of stressful times emotional eating becomes almost normalized. For those with a history of struggling with body image or disordered eating or both, it can be even more of a trigger.
What are some things you can do?
#1 – Set boundaries around checking the news
If you normally have a radio or television playing in the background, or you find yourself checking the news several times, maybe dial it down to once or twice a day. Be purposeful about when you check the news, so that you can get into the right mindset by practicing deep breathing or other relaxation exercises.
Select one or two news sources that are aligned with your view, though also consider listening to other sources. This can give you a fresh more perspective and help you better understand where other people’s views are coming from.
#2 – Have healthy discussions with people
You don’t necessarily need to agree about politics or the public health situation or other polarizing world events, but you can honor each other’s opinions and try to understand them, as mentioned above. That’s a healthy practice at any time, and even more important when emotions are running high.
#3 – Take quiet time for yourself
To help you stay grounded and centered, make it a priority to have some quiet time every day, or even several times a day. There are a lot of ways to take quiet time; you don’t need to be sitting at home on the floor with your legs crossed – though that is an option.
Relax with a group by attending a yoga class, religious service, or spiritual event. Or by getting out for a walk or to sit on the beach or a park bench.
You can quiet your mind by focusing on your hands, while doing a jigsaw puzzle, doodling, or crafts.
#4 – Express yourself without words
If you’re feeling some pent up emotions that are difficult to talk about, find creative ways to express them through art, poetry, journaling, music, or dance.
#5 – Ask for help
Talking to a counselor can give you an objective perspective on your thoughts. When there is so much going on, and so many people prone to hysteria, it helps a lot to talk things through.
As well, share openly with your loved ones about what’s going on in your mind, even if they don’t always say what you want them to say.
#6 – Get into action
Volunteering in your community gives you the chance to gather with like-minded people who also want to help others, better themselves, make positive change, or create something together.
#7 – Think about your future goals
In time, everything passes – both the good things and the not-so-good things. And while we can’t predict how any particular situation will turn out, it can be very healing to visualize where you’d like to be in a year or two, or longer term like five years or ten years.
What would you like to be doing professionally in your work? Where would you like to be living? What would you like in your home?
Through any big public event, daily life goes on. Balance your energy to stay connected to the world around you so that you can give and receive through these ebbs and flows.