Exercising Stress Management In Uncertain Times

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Our world has been hit by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), a devastating pandemic that has swept nations claiming thousands of lives along the way. Whether we are directly impacted or not, we have all begun to lose sleep worrying about the health of our family, friends and communities.

In the past few weeks, sacrifices have been made to prevent the virus’ spread. Everyday routines have drastically shifted, causing many of us to feel overwhelmed in crammed homes full of energetic kids and distressed spouses.

During a time when the media seems to target our deepest uncertainties and fears, staying physically and mentally strong is of utmost importance. Although we can’t change the events that are unfolding, we can control our mindset. Reducing our stress is imperative and there are ways we can do it, yes, even stuck at home!

To determine the most effective stress management techniques, we sought the advice of Gina Guddat, Licensed Mental Health Therapist and Physical Fitness Expert. She provided some helpful tips to channel that anxious energy into healthier, more productive outlets.

First and foremost, it’s important to move around and get your heart rate up. “We don’t realize, as fitness professionals, how dependent we become on exercise as our coping technique,” Guddat says. “When you remove fitness from people’s lives it’s extremely detrimental to their emotional health.”

With gyms and recreation centers closing, many of us aren’t able to maintain our everyday workout routine. Thankfully, modern-day technology gives us the incredible capability to do our favorite exercises in our own homes.

In fact, SCW’s online resources allow you to follow along with our videos in the comfort of your own home. Utilize our certifications and live streaming options at your convenience, knowing you’re getting top-notch guidance from expert professionals. Whether it be a morning yoga session or quick HIIT class, boosting your endorphins is absolutely essential.

However, an at-home workout isn’t for everyone — perhaps you don’t have the space or you’d rather avoid bugging your neighbors in a compact apartment. Guddat acknowledges that some people’s living arrangements are not conducive for exercise, so if you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry! There are alternative ways of managing your stress, they may just require a shift in focus.

She explains that our body has two operating systems: sympathetic and parasympathetic. Working out stimulates our sympathetic system, or “fight or flight” response. Our parasympathetic system is what allows us to relax and “rest and digest.”

We’re all quite familiar with employing our sympathetic system, but we must engage our parasympathetic as well. To do this we should try stimulating our senses, because what we hear, smell, see, touch and taste can have drastic effects on our well-being.

• For sound, music can be a powerful mood-booster. Guddat cites “smooth jazz, classical, or even a fun 1980s track” as anxiety-reducing tunes.

• To satisfy our sense of smell, candles, essential oils and even lotions go a long way. Relaxing scents such as vanilla and caramel or citrusy flavors like orange, mango and pineapple tend to lift our spirits.

• For sight, light is essential, so try to get out into the sun. Step out onto a balcony or venture into the backyard to get some Vitamin D. If this isn’t possible, open the blinds and allow some natural light to come in.

• As for touch, keep to warm temperatures, some examples being fireplaces, bubble baths, hot tub saunas and weighted blankets.

• Lastly, for taste, go ahead and indulge in that square of chocolate. “Comfort foods build serotonin in your brain,” Guddat stresses, “and now is not the time to go on a diet.” So if you find your strict diet is falling by the wayside, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Above all, talk to your friends and family — we all need social interaction, especially during times like these. It’s easy to get creative with the video capabilities in today’s world, and if Skype or phone calls are not an option, write a letter!

Now is the time to focus on yourself and do things you always dreamed of but couldn’t because of the usual excuses: I don’t have the time, or something more pressing always comes up. We must stay positive, strong and uplift those around us. We will conquer these tough times, apart yet together, and we will be stronger by it.

Fitness pros are always locked into their class schedules, so why not take this time to expand your career and get certified in something new? SCW’s Live Stream Certifications are perfect for that, because you can get certified in the comfort of your own home. Or check out their Online Certifications in Meditation or T’ai Chi and put that new skill into practice right away in your own home or connect with your clients in a live stream of your own. Everyone could use a little extra centering right about now.

We wish you safe, healthy and happy times ahead, and we thank you for your continued support of SCW Fitness Education.