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Authored by Guest Writer Cheryl Conklin of Wellness Central.

Current events likely have you feeling more stressed, worried, anxious and generally discombobulated than usual. You may feel out of sorts and out of sync with yourself. It is vital to reclaim your peace mentally, physically and emotionally. LiveWellFlow wants to help you be your best self, so here are some stress management strategies for feeling and looking your best during the pandemic, no matter if you venture outside once restrictions lift or remain inside your home.

Create a Stress-Free Home Environment 

The undercurrent of tension simmering outside can easily infiltrate your home. Redecorate your home and turn it into a sanctuary that’s free of stress. Picking up clutter around your home can open your space up, making your residence more calming and centering. Rather than illuminating entire rooms artificially, allow in as much natural light as possible. Open the windows to let in fresh air, and give your home a good scrub down.

Engage in Breathing Exercises 

Become more intentional about your breathing. At least once a day, take five or 10 minutes to sit down and engage in breathing exercises. Close your eyes and inhale for five seconds and breathe out for seven. When you narrow your focus on your breathing and tune out all other stimuli, you help decrease your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate.

Even if you do not feel stressed, do some breathing exercises anyway to get ahead of stress that you may not be aware of. Consider making slowing down and being more mindful part of your lifestyle habits as a part of self-care. 

Make Exercising a Habit

If you don’t already exercise, now is a great time to start. Like intentional breathing, exercise is another great way to beat stress. You can also get outside, if restrictions allow, and get some fresh air and sunshine (a significant source of vitamin D) while going for a walk or jog.

One of the great things about exercising is you have several options to choose from to match your desired intensity levels or physical capabilities. You can even set up a home gym. No matter what kind of workout suits you best, vary it to challenge your body and mind and keep from falling into a rut.

If you like, you can also use tech to help you track your progress and benefits. For instance, a Fitbit or similar device will track your health and wellness choices at your wrist. There are also mobile apps that support a healthy lifestyle. Best of all, options like this help not only with your exercise program, but also with making eating choices that are right for you. 

Use Food To Beat Anxiety 

Much like breathing, be more intentional about what you eat. VerywellMind notes certain foods can help you address stress while supporting general health. The selenium in Brazil nuts lowers inflammation that accompanies mood disorders. Trout, salmon, herring and other fatty fish contain omega-3, which supports healthy brain function. Be careful not to eat too much omega-6, another fatty acid, though. While omega-6 is important, too much of a good thing has been linked to depression and various physical conditions such as high blood pressure.

The tryptophan in eggs helps your brain secrete serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps your body regulate behavior, mood, sleep and memory. Don’t be afraid to indulge in dark chocolate, as it has flavonoids that can lower cell death and neuroinflammation. Scientists have yet to confirm the stress-busting benefits of dark chocolate, but you likely won’t mind seeing for yourself how much the treat can elevate your mood and defeat stress.

Listen to Music 

Have your favorite musical artists continued to release new music? The right music can put you into a relaxed state of mind, or it can make you want to get up and dance, which also helps beat anxiety and lifts your mood. To enjoy the most relaxation with music, listen to selections around 60 beats per minute, which promotes alpha brain waves that can put you into a near-meditative state.

Get a resiliency plan in place to combat the psychological effects of the pandemic. Try the above tips to see how they help keep you elevated, and connect with LiveWellFlow to learn more about living a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.