I’ve found that my work/life stress level has been through the roof recently and so many of my friends are dealing with increasing anxiety and mental health issues. Then you throw a global pandemic into the mix, and things can quickly seem overwhelming and completely out of control. Below are three habits to train your mind to be calm in all situations and help settle your anxiety fast. I use all of these tactics every day to help me de-stress and reduce anxiety.
I’ve wanted to get into a regular meditation routine for years. I feel better when I mediate but would always hit the snooze button instead (anyone else relate?). Last year, I convinced my husband to start meditating with me to keep me accountable. Surprisingly, we stuck with it every morning for a month. Once I had the habit set, it was easy to stick with it. When the pandemic hit, it was the only moment of calm I had in my entire day of crisis communications management. I honestly think keeping this practice saved me.
Initially I was just looking up meditations on YouTube but then we started doing the Oprah and Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Experience and it was a game-changer. Now I actually do my meditation with the Peloton app. Peloton has a free 30-day trial and over a thousand meditation classes to choose from so be sure to try it out.
I still meditate almost every morning for 15-20 minutes. However, even 5-10 minutes of meditation is beneficial. For me, 20 minutes is the right amount of time to get into a positive headspace and set an intention for the day, before checking the news or reading emails. And if you think you don’t have 15 minutes, check your phone usage and see how much time you spend scrolling through Instagram…
I had never heard of Qigong (pronounced Chee-Gong) before my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor suggested it. It has a lot of similarities to Tai Chi in that it offers a series of gentle movements to promote the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout your body. This, combined with breathe work, aids in providing a calming, meditative feeling, increased flexibility, and healing of your organs and tissues. It feels SO good!
As my TCM doctor says, “It provides the benefits of what I do with acupuncture and such, but from the inside out.” The 8 Brocades Qigong practice with Mimi Kuo-Deemer was recommended to me and I consistently follow her practice. I find it informative and soothing each and every time I do it.
You’d think as a certified yoga instructor (I did my 200 Hour Teacher Training and my 80 Hour Yin Training) I would have a consistent home practice. I do not. However, I LOVE going to yoga classes. It is the ultimate in self-care for me. Unfortunately with the pandemic, yoga classes have basically disappeared. I find that trying to look up yoga classes online can become overwhelming pretty damn quick.
So I was delighted to discover that the Peloton app literally has THOUSANDS of yoga classes that I can filter based on yoga style, experience level, class length, even music type (love this). I’ve even done live yoga classes with Peloton too, which is cool.
If the app isn’t really your style, one of my favourite online yoga teachers is Adriene Mishler, the founder of Yoga with Adriene. She offers an abundance of free yoga classes on her YouTube channel, and often does 30-day challenges, which is a great way to stay accountable.
Yoga is definitely something I need in my life; I always feel better physically (I did NOT know I could get so sore and tight just from sitting at a desk), as well as mentally and emotionally.
If you are wondering how to de-stress and reduce anxiety like I was, I highly recommend trying Meditation, Qigong, and Yoga. Even just 10 minutes a day will bring those stress levels down. I find it’s even better when I savour a warm cup of tea afterwards. I hope you find these tools useful. Please comment below and let me know how you get on!