• Keiko Yoneyama-Sims

5 ways to ease the stress while still doing shelter in place

Being told to stay put is really stressful. Lack of movement, lack of activities, lack of human interaction.

Or maybe other way around for some parents. Too much movement in your house. Too much activities going at the same time with different kids wanting different things at a time. Too close and too much being stuck with the same people.

Because the health risk and social obligation, many of you are following social distancing and shelter in place.

So let me share 5 ways to ease stress even when you are doing shelter in place.

1 - Having some kind of schedule or routine

Following some schedule or daily routine let you have feeling of some normalcy and control over your day. It will help chop down a day into smaller chunk and maybe help you feel the time move. The schedule I am talking here is not rigorous and ridged, minute to minute schedule you used to have at work or home life. It would look very relaxed. Just few points of the day. Such as meal time, walk your dog time, shower time.

2 - Having time together and alone

Depending on your personality, either extrovert or introvert, you want to watch how much of togetherness and aloneness you are having. You want to monitor what ratio of these two are best for you. Some prefer to share a home work office and feel the others presence more. Some need time of solitude daily. If you have children, explain to them that you need time alone for certain length of time and for them it will be free play time. And have it as a regular part of daily routine. There is no need to feel guilty. It is necessary for your well being. Accepting and owning are the key.

3 - Limiting input from media

Getting information is a key when crisis happens. However, too much information or expose to negative messages from the media or SNS can tip over your mental well being. Limit length of time and information sources you will allow yourself exposed to daily. It may take great self-control. What would be other ways to limit your exposure to media? Maybe deleting news apps. Maybe increasing time for reading books. I heard a family who turned off the house wifi router after dinner daily and he noticed increase in family pleasant communication.

4 - Having moment of feeling gratitude

In stressful time, our natural tendency is to focus on what is going wrong and how bad things are. It is because our brain is hard wired to look for sign of danger or bad news to keep us alive and safe. It was very useful feature especially when our ancestors lived in cave or lived close to or in wild nature. However, in current world, we do not need this function that much. To tone down this function in your brain, let’s replace it with gratitude. Focusing on what you are grateful for. Pay close attention to what is going well, even if it was very small thing. What do you have already that you are happy with? Some may say to feel sun warmth. Other may say fresh taste of coffee. What is yours?

5 - Remembering your greatness and resources

Even when we are in such a stressful situation, it does not mean you lost all the goodness you brings to your family and the world. Have moment to intentionally remind you what you do contribute to the day going well and how you are contributing. Yes it sounds like inflating ego and arrogance. They happens when the claim and the reality do not match. What I am suggesting is not that. It is acknowledging your greatness based on what you have done. Just claiming as it is.

I hope these tips will help you with easing your stress level in daily life. Stay safe. We will get through this.

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Last Updated on May 22nd, 2019