The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people’s lives all over the world. Though things in the U.S. are slowly starting to get back to normal — or at least a “new” normal, there are still over 140 million Americans under some type of lockdown. Needless to say, these uncertain and stressful times have been hard on everyone.
If you’re someone with a disability, though, it can be even more difficult to go through these times of stress, especially if you’re under a stay-at-home order. You might find it harder to find effective ways to relieve stress.
Whether you’re still working but having to do it remotely and struggling with the changes, or you’re having a hard time finding a balance between work and home life, it’s important to find ways to relax and stay positive when times are hard.
With that in mind, let’s cover a few tips you can use to stay relaxed during times of stress — not just now, but whenever a stressful situation might arise in your life.
Stop Worrying About Work
Stress in the workplace isn’t uncommon. In fact, a survey performed in 2019 discovered that 94% of workers in the U.S. experience stress at work. But, when you’ve grown used to a certain work environment, having to switch things up can be just as stressful. It’s important to remember that stress isn’t the same for everyone. You might not have any symptoms, or you might experience it differently than your co-workers.
One issue that can be caused by remote working is finding a healthy work-life balance. When you’re at home all day, it’s sometimes difficult to know when you should call it quits for the night. So, what can you do to make sure you’re “going home” from work, even if you’re already in your home?
Start by keeping the same routine you had when you went into the office, if possible. Wake up at the same time each day, get dressed, have breakfast, and try some chair exercises for increased joint mobility and to boost your energy.
Other tips for striking a healthier work-life balance include:
- Having a separate office/workspace (not your living room couch)
- Having set work hours during the day
- Taking frequent breaks
- Telling your family/roommates that you have to work during certain hours
- Limiting distractions
The goal is to make your workday at home as “normal” as possible. That might be easier said than done, but the more you focus on working during a certain time and relaxing during a certain time, the easier it will be to develop a healthy balance each day.
Unwinding at the End of the Day
Once you’ve stopped working for the day, find ways to relax at home without over-exerting yourself. While it can be tempting to binge-watch Netflix all night (and there’s nothing wrong with that on occasion!), there are things you can do to make each evening more peaceful for yourself.
Practicing meditation and mindfulness can make a big difference in your stress levels. Some people are hesitant to try meditating because of the stereotypes surrounding it. But, you don’t have to put yourself in any strange positions or do any kind of chanting. Instead, simply sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Meditation has a variety of benefits, including:
- Decreases muscle tension
- Increases blood flow
- Lowers blood pressure
- Boosts immune system
You can take your meditation efforts one step further by trying out yoga. Again, don’t buy into the myths or stereotypes surrounding yoga for people with disabilities. You don’t need to be extremely flexible or even athletic to do things like side stretches, cat pose, and twists. Yoga has many physical benefits, but like meditation, it also causes you to focus on your breathing and can help to alleviate stress.
There may be no better way to end a stressful day than with a relaxing, warm bath. Bath bombs have become increasingly popular over the years and adding one to your tub can provide even more relaxation. Some of them contain calming scents like lavender, and the bubbles caused by the bombs can soothe your muscles. Just make sure to keep your drain covered to avoid any debris from the bath bomb clogging it up!
Creating a Bedroom Sanctuary
At the end of the day, when you head to your bedroom, it should feel like your own personal sanctuary. Your bedroom should be a safe haven and promote a calm, relaxing environment that encourages a good night’s sleep. If your bedroom doesn’t relax you, it might be time to make some changes.
First, consider the colors in your room. Shades of blue or light gray can promote relaxation and help you to sleep soundly. But if you don’t want to do a complete bedroom renovation, some tips you can use to create a calmer environment include:
- Having a comfortable bed
- Decluttering/organizing the space
- Hanging blackout curtains
- Using essential oils to create a spa-like experience
- Leaving technology out of the bedroom
Creating a calming and relaxing bedroom can give you a better night’s sleep and allow you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day with minimal stress. If the stress from this pandemic has you feeling overwhelmed, keep some of these tips in mind to use each day, and remember aspects of them as things start to return to normal and life continues to move forward.
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/black-coffee-coffee-cup-desk-drink-2847957/