The US presidential election takes place today, during International Stress Awareness Week. While this event will have a big impact on global stress levels, we hope it doesn’t distract from the important message of this week. Stress matters – and we all need to address it.    

A survey of more than 5,400 North American adults found that 41% had struggled with anxiety, depression or other stress-related emotional issues since Covid hit in April 2020. Given the pandemic’s fundamental impact on our economy and society, the need to destress has never been greater. 

So, how can those of us who have felt the consequences of these crazy times begin to relax? Well, for starters, you can begin by reading this short, yet effective list of ways you can begin relieving stress at home.

Try meditating

Meditation is an effective tool in managing short-term stress and also has lasting stress-relieving benefits. There are several different forms of meditation – and you can find lots of information and apps online. The usual starting point is to develop and focus on breathing techniques. Focusing on deep breathing has the ability to calm both your body and brain in just a few short minutes. You can also practice mindfulness, which involves being present in the moment; simply directing your focus to your five senses.  

Guided self-imagery 

Guided-imagery can be compared to taking a short vacation in your mind. It often involves closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a “happy place.” Maybe this place is your grandmother’s garden, sitting by the flowers, listening to the wind in the trees, smelling the freshly cut grass and feeling the fresh earth underneath you. Challenge yourself to engage your senses and allow yourself to feel as though you’re really there.

Positive self-reinforcement

The ways in which we talk to ourselves impacts our overall outlook on who we are and what we’re able to accomplish. Life isn’t easy and we all need a helping hand – and that starts with caring for ourselves. Leave harsh self-criticism, self-doubt and insecurities at the door. Instead, work on creating a kind, compassionate inner dialogue with yourself – this can help to develop a healthier outlook when coping with challenging situations. 

Prioritize exercising 

You’re definitely tired of seeing this particular tip in every stress-related self-help article. But it truly is important. Along with a balanced diet, physical activity is a key component in managing stress and improving your overall mental health. Whether it’s taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood block or taking on the rugged inclines of your local conservation area – there are several outdoor Covid-friendly activities you can partake in at all fitness levels. 

Quad-Fi cares about your mental health. If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis visit the Government of Canada’s mental health support page to learn how you can get help and be helpful. And remember to take care of yourself – mentally, physically and emotionally – so you can take care of others.