Written by: Anissa Jacks
We’re living in strange times. Buzzwords such as social distancing, quarantine, and COVID-19 makes for a difficult time considering humans often thrive off of interaction. In addition to fighting the COVID-19 virus, many Americans are also fighting a long, systemic, and institutional fight against an unfair justice system. The rulings of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor cases have opened America’s eyes to the adversities that this country has and how much work must be done to fix our broken justice system. Now that many of us have slowed down our busy day to day activities, we have time to really look at the world and ourselves for who & what we are. That’s an extremely stressful thing to unpack for one person, so let’s explore 5 easy ways to decompress in an effort to remain positive during these hard times.
1. Exercise It’s common knowledge that continuous exercise takes some serious strength & willpower to do, but you will be better off doing it! Exercising, “reduces levels of the body's stress hormones,” says Harvard Health Publishing. Working out also helps release endorphins that are responsible for relaxation. Getting exercise allows for your body to be busy and your mind to be distracted from everything else you’ve got going on.
2. Meditation is defined in the Cambridge dictionary as “the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed.” A lot of things in life are out of our control, oftentimes things don’t go the way we want them to. But one thing we can control is how we react to circumstances by cultivating the awareness of the mind. Try and meditate for a few minutes a day, you’ll be surprised by the results.
3. Learn something new...Now is the best time to learn something you’ve always wanted to, but never had the time to. Harvard University is using this time to give people access to some of their classes online for free! Not only can you take classes, but you can also learn that language you’ve been wanting to on Duolingo. Duolingo is a website and free app that helps you learn 30+ languages. Take this time to try some new recipes, learn some new cooking skills, or even get some paint and get creative! Creativity, along with learning something new, takes your mind off of the many stresses we face.
4. DisconnectStaying up to date is imperative in this day and age. Society has been leaning heavily on social media and news outlets to do so. Constantly looking at content about the many protests, COVID updates, and riots can be very mentally draining and not the healthiest choice. This is because they put us through a plethora of emotions along with the ones we already have to face day to day. Instead, take a break from those things every once in a while, allow your mind to relax and focus on your mental health.
In times like this, finding what works for you is very important. Do what feels best for you. Make sure you’re taking the time to better yourself so that you can pour into others. While having more time to focus on everything going on in the world, allow yourself some time to decompress and remain positive, you deserve it!