Unsurprisingly, the past year has been one of the most stressful on record. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America Survey, 67 percent of adults say they’ve experienced increased stress over the course of the pandemic and 78 percent say the pandemic has been a significant stressor in their life. Isolation, uncertainty, and an unstable political climate have made things even worse.
There’s simply no denying that COVID has taken a serious toll on our collective mental health and well-being. So if you’re struggling, know you’re not alone. And know there are ways to deal with it. Luckily, there are some simple, natural ways to relieve stress so you can get back to enjoying life to its fullest. Here are a few simple ways to calm your COVID-induced stress.
1. Soak in the bathtub
As Sylvia Plath once said, “There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” Make the most out of your bathtime with CBD bath bombs that combine ultra-calming CBD with relaxation agents like essential oils and the Dead Sea salts. CBD products show promising effects, from the ability to help you unwind after a stressful day to potentially helping you get good, deep sleep.
2. Give yourself a massage
Unfortunately, one of the biggest side effects of stress is the physical toll it takes on our bodies. When we’re feeling on edge or uptight, we tend to clench the muscles throughout our bodies, causing soreness and discomfort. Home massage will help you work out some of those lingering tension points so you feel physically great again. Have a partner provide you with a massage or use a foam roller to work it out.
3. Practice hygge
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, hygge is “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” The Danish concept is all about bringing warmth and coziness into your daily life in order to achieve a state of happiness and calm. Hygge can be achieved through things like enjoying a cozy cup of tea beneath your favorite blanket or soaking in a warm bath.
4. Get your adrenaline pumping with exercise
We all know that exercise is one of the best natural stress-busters out there, and that’s not just hype. Exercise releases endorphins — “feel-good” hormones that give you a feeling of euphoria — so you’ll feel instantly happier and more relaxed after you get sweaty. It’s also crucial to helping you counteract some of the negative physical side effects of stress, including high blood pressure.
5. Spend time with animals
Have you ever noticed that you feel happier and less stressed out after petting and cuddling with a furry friend? That’s not a coincidence! Research suggests that interacting with animals can decrease stress-related hormones, including cortisol, and lower blood pressure. So not only is it great for helping you unwind but spending time with animals also contributes to your overall wellness.
6. Go for a hike
Fresh air is another one of those known natural stress relievers that we often overlook. The combination of time spent outside in the sunshine coupled with the endorphins of exercise will leave you feeling a lot less stressed out. A long hike with friends — wearing masks, of course — may be a safe way to take your mind off the stressors of life for an hour or two.
7. Visit with friends online
One of the biggest reasons humanity is suffering so much right now is the fact that we can’t be as social as we’d like to be. There’s simply no getting around it — time spent with friends is the ultimate stress reliever, especially when there’s a lot of laughter and support involved. But you can still get the same rush of joy and community by spending time with your friends online, whether that is by catching up on video chat or playing a game together online. There are tons of great virtual games to play to bring together your pals all over the world.
8. Listen to your favorite album
When was the last time you listened to your favorite record from start to finish? Diving into some good tunes is an amazing way to distract the mind from stress-inducing thoughts while also inciting feelings of comfort, joy, and happiness. Get comfy and crank up the volume! While you’re at it, dance a little bit, because we all know that’s one of the best ways to blow off some steam and de-stress.
9. Try an arts and crafts project
Whether it’s knitting, painting, or making a special craft for your home, doing some arts and crafts projects is a great way to help distract the mind for long periods of time so you can think about something other than your stressors. When you’re done, the feeling of accomplishment and productivity will help you feel less stressed out.
10. Talk to your therapist
If you feel that none of the daily stress-relievers you’ve come to rely on are working, you might want to look into therapy. Over time, unmanaged stress can morph into lingering mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. A licensed, professional therapist will be able to help you identify why you’re so stressed out and provide you with healthy coping mechanisms tailored to you and your unique situation.
Normalcy Is On the Horizon
If you’re one of the millions of Americans experiencing COVID-related stress, try to remember that normalcy is on the horizon. Try your best to keep following COVID protocols as much as possible — wearing your mask, staying socially distant, not eating out, or attending large events — and know that we’re on our way back to normalcy and will be back to normal life soon. In the meantime, we hope these stress relief ideas will help you ward off the COVID blues.