Stressed out? Try these 4 habits

Posted on 14 March 2021

Stressed out? Try these 4 habits

A guide to managing your Mental Health to combat the effects of Pandemic Fatigue


We are not talking about months of lockdown anymore. We are talking about years. And we all know how it is affecting us. Although the umbrella terms are Quarantine Fatigue, Pandemic Fatigue or even Burnout, there are various ways in which it has us stressed out and affects our Wellbeing. In terms of Mental Health, you may find that you are:

  • Irritable - snappy, short-fused and very reactive but unsure as to why;
  • Stressed out - always revved up, tight and never switched off and relaxed;
  • Anxious - circling around the same negative, even catastrophic, thought patterns;
  • Having racing thoughts - thinking about everything at once, never getting a mental break;
  • On edge in general - nervous, on the edge of your seat, constantly in fight or flight mode.

Struggling with these symptoms?
Take the Quarantine Fatigue assessment here

There are no silver bullets for the pandemic, nor for Quarantine Fatigue. But there are several healthy habits you can build to combat Pandemic Fatigue and feeling stressed out. Let’s take a look 4 habits and how they can help.



Journalling

I never kept a diary or journal growing up, but in my adulthood it has been an incredibly powerful tool to express my emotions when I’m stressed out so that they don’t force their way out elsewhere in my life.

Screenshot 2021 03 10 at 15.14.20

[1]

My preferred method of journalling is the RULER method developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. This is where you Recognise, Understand, Label, Express and Regulate you emotions. Without complicating it by going into too much detail, it is a process of sitting with your thoughts and expressing your feeling of “I am angry because…” and then unpacking it as much as you feel you need to. Personally, I use Notion’s Journal template to write mine.

You can learn about journalling and many other habits
in the Conquer Quarantine Fatigue Programme


Diaphragmatic breathing

It is the most basic action in life but breathing properly seems to elude many of us because we are stressed out, myself included. People like James Nestor {affiliate link} have written whole books about it and the research shows us that deep breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, can improve our attention, mood and stress hormone levels [2]. There are lots of methods you can try. James Nestor’s {affiliate link} core message is aiming for 5.5 seconds on in and out breaths; the Wim Hoff aka Ice Man method is popular; and the simplest to follow is box breathing. Personally I like integrating this with my morning walks.


You can integrate and track habits like box breathing
in the Conquer Quarantine Fatigue Programme


Meditation and mindfulness

The evidence base for meditation improving our health and wellbeing continues to increase. There is now even the possibility that meditation can contribute to healthy ageing.

Screenshot 2021 03 10 at 15.27.38

[3]

It can feel a bit intimidating to start meditating and difficult to understand what being mindful actually means. Generally it is about being able to focus in on the moment. The simplest way to get started is just to focus on your breath. If you want to build a meditation practice there are several apps you can try, or you can just head over to Sukh’s YouTube channel.


You can start meditating but you need to build long-term habit for the full impact.
See how the Quarantine Fatigue Programme can help


Massage

Anyone who has had a massage knows how relaxing it can be, especially when you are stressed out. But research shows that it actually can relax us at a physiological level, through increased heart rate variability, which is a marker of recovery. It doesn’t necessarily require specific techniques either, as a recent study showed that soft shoulder massage had equivalent impact to vague nerve massage [4].

Screenshot 2021 03 10 at 15.31.15

[4]


Need help sticking to these new habits? There’s an app for that and it’s coming very soon.
Sign up to our mailing list to be among the first to access our healthy habits app.


References

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/writing-about-emotions-may-ease-stress-and-trauma
  2. Ma X, Yue ZQ, Gong ZQ, Zhang H, Duan NY, Shi YT, Wei GX, Li YF. The effect of diaphragmatic breathing on attention, negative affect and stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in psychology. 2017 Jun 6;8:874.
  3. Conklin QA, Crosswell AD, Saron CD, Epel ES. Meditation, stress processes, and telomere biology. Current opinion in psychology. 2019 Aug 1;28:92-101.
  4. Meier M, Unternaehrer E, Dimitroff SJ, Benz AB, Bentele UU, Schorpp SM, Wenzel M, Pruessner JC. Standardized massage interventions as protocols for the induction of psychophysiological relaxation in the laboratory: a block randomized, controlled trial. Scientific reports. 2020 Sep 8;10(1):1-2.

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