Politics, Covid-19, traffic, growth… these are just a few of the factors causing stress and anxiety for Austinites. Remember, it’s ok to still feel unsteady, anxious, and overwhelmed. Though there is no book, manual, or protocol to read or follow when it comes to how we should feel, there are ways to cope with those feelings.
Below are five practices wellness contributor Gustavo Padron uses every day to ease his mind and help him be more at peace. We hope they serve you as well.
5 Easy Ways To Cope With Stress and Anxiety
1 – Move Your Body
Moving my body is non negotiable. Taking 30 minutes out of my day to move the energy in my body always helps me feel more at ease. The endorphins from exercise lift my spirits and help me feel more grounded and focused. Some of my favorite ways to move my body include yoga, a HIIT session, a walk/ run outside, or even a random dance party in my living room.
2 – Eat Healthy
Whenever I feel sad, alone, or anxious, I reach for cookies. I know this is a coping mechanism to numb and I’ve worked with nutritionists and therapists to help me be more mindful when it comes to eating to fuel my body. I’ve found that planning my meals, and checking in with myself before I reach for another cookie, can help me eat in a more mindful way. Am I really hungry or am I just bored? I also aim to buy foods that are healthy and wholesome and provide maximum nutrition to fuel me. As always, listen to your body and choose foods that will provide you with fuel and make you feel good.
3 – Practice Gratitude
Mental health experts agree that cultivating an attitude of gratitude can greatly help diminish our anxiety. When we practice heart-felt gratitude, we learn to shift our focus from what is not working to what is working. Practicing gratitude is simple. I do it every morning before my feet hit the ground. I begin by bringing three things to mind that I am grateful for. Usually it goes something like this: Today I am grateful for my strong and healthy body, I am grateful for my loved ones and their health, I am grateful for the opportunity to be of service to the world. Next time you are feeling a bit anxious, try this out. It can be done anywhere and anytime.
4 – Do Something That Sparks Joy
When we feel stressed out, we tend to take everything so seriously. Cut yourself a slice of grace and do something brings you joy. Anything goes here. Do something (small or big) that brings you joy. It will raise your vibration and make you feel good. Some of the things that bring me joy are playing with my puppy, watching a funny movie, experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, reading, building a puzzle, and taking a bath.
5 – Unplug
Being informed of how everything is evolving and unfolding in the world is great, but be sure to carve out time to unplug. Focus your energy on connecting with nature, yourself, and your loved ones. One of my favorite ways to connect with nature is to go on a walk and call family or friends. You can also use this time to try something new, like learning a new language, playing an instrument, painting, coding, you name it. Use this time to be creative and let your mind get a break from the news and the media.
You can also find more from Gustavo, as well as our other Austin.com contributors, right here.
All photos courtesy of Gustavo Padron.