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Calm in a time of Corona

Updated: Jan 3, 2022

We are living through unprecedented, challenging times. Most of us are at home reducing our exposures, social distancing in public and turning to social media and video calling to be with our families, friends and communities. Our day to day experience is just plain different. I bet most of you are experiencing a multitude of emotions ranging from anxiety to boredom to fear or fatigue. Who out there is feeling that unease and being stressed is your new "normal"? If you are feeling affected by the Coronovirus, you are not alone.

How can we stay balanced in these anxious times?

It's always important to return to basics. We have access to a lot of FREE resources!

Activate your Internal Calm Network!

1) Deep, belly breathing activates your vagus nerve, which powers on your calming, peaceful nervous system, the Parasympathetic Nervous System. In a matter of moments, you can activate your vagus nerve and transform into a calm state however you should check first to make sure you're a belly breather! You can easily test out if you are a belly breather by placing a hand on both your chest and abdomen (sometimes it's easiest to test laying down). As you breath in, check to see which hand moves first. If the hand on your chest moves first, you are making shallow breaths that will not trigger the vagus nerve. Practice breathing into your belly, then try #2.

2) Breath Work: By intentionally counting and holding your breaths, it helps to focus your mind. My favorite breathing technique is the 4 Square Breathing Technique. How to do it: Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. Repeat up to 10 times or until you feel your state change.

3) Sing Loudly! The vagus nerve connects to your vocal chords. By singing, chanting, or even gargling, you can active the vagus nerve.

4) Turn on your smellers: Light a candle, diffuse an essential oil, brew your favorite tea or bake a treat. The brain associates smells with memories, and smelling something that reminds you of a great time or place can transcend anxious thoughts and quiet brain activity. Classic calming scents are lavender, cinnamon or rosemary.

Get Creative

1) Making time to do something artistic will tap into your creative side. Consider painting a picture, sketching your pet or environment, or learning to knit or embroider. There are lots of free tutorials on YouTube as well as affordable art classes through Udemy. Yaymaker also offers virtual Paint Nites using step by step instructions of the painting of your choice.

2) Virtual Vacations: The National Park Service is offering ranger lead "tours" of unique places in our National Parks-- caves, shipwrecks, volcanoes, glaciers to name a few. You can also explore hundreds of museums around the world, such as the Guggenheim in NYC, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, or the Uffizi in Florence, Italy.

Self Care

1) Free Mindfulness Apps: Apps such as Headspace or Insight Timer help you understand and train your body to respond to stress differently with guided meditations and exercises. Aura, which offers a free trial, personalizes your experience by first checking in with you using a series of questions designed to create a personalized 3 minute meditation that can be sent to you as frequently as daily.

2) Partner Reflexology: If you are at home with a roommate or family member, try reflexology, which is a targeted foot massage that addresses trigger points in your most used muscles to release tension. Reflexology can be a dual treatment so that you can receive a massage while giving a massage. You can find instructive "How To" videos on YouTube. Not interested in feet? Check on reflexology for the hands.

3) Rest: What better way to activate your Parasympathetic Nervous System then by sleeping. You have to enter this state in order to fall asleep. Sleep deprivation can be associated with mood disorders. During sleep, the body heals and repairs itself, so do yourself a favor and make sure you are getting adequate zzz's.

4) It's ok! Give yourself permission to feel how you feel and know that you are not alone. By allowing space for your thoughts without internal criticism or angst, you are giving validation to your thinking. Respect and honor yourself, and you can begin to transcend your negative emotions. Positive self talk promotes positive outlook going forward.

If you are feeling anxious or down and not yourself, we are here to help. The physicians at Canyonlands Natural Medicine work with a variety of natural and prescription mood therapeutics that can help support brain chemistry and bring you back into balance during these challenging times. Visits are virtual (so you are welcome to do the entire visit in your PJ's!). Don't hesitate to reach out or schedule a Get Acquainted Call to explore how we can support you and your family.

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