This past year has been challenging to our community. One out of every two Americans claim that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health and psychological well–being. At Brick Bodies, we’re focused on helping our community rise above the impacts of COVID-19 and improve their mental and physical health.
Below are five easy, and free, self-care activities you can do anytime, anywhere to decrease stress, reduce anxiety and improve your mental state.
1. Breathe in a Conscious and Controlled Fashion
Many people breathe too quickly and too much through their chest instead of using their diaphragm. Diaphragmatic Breathing, known as “belly breathing”, involves engaging the stomach, abdominal muscles, and diaphragm which increases the amount of oxygen you take in with every breath. To engage your diaphragm while breathing, think of filling your belly with air as you inhale then, as you exhale think of your belly button dropping to your spine. It can be helpful to place your hand on your belly so you can feel your tummy move on each inhale and exhale.
It is also important to breathe in a conscious and controlled fashion. This practice increases the level of oxygen in your body which leads to a reduction of your stress and anxiety. To practice breathing in a conscious and controlled fashion, follow these three steps:
- Inhale through your nose for a count of four
- Hold your breath for a count of six
- Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight
2. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Practice connecting to your mind and body through meditation! Even just five minutes a day will decrease anxiety and boost your mood.
Enjoy Thrive in Five, a five-minute meditation that helps reset your mind and spirit. This meditation and other workouts can be found anytime, anywhere in Brick Bodies Now, our virtual studio with live and on-demand classes. Try Brick Bodies Now FREE today.
3. Take a Cold Shower
Water therapy can help increase the production of beta-endorphins, ‘feel good’ molecules that provide a sense of well–being. The Wim Hof Method is a powerful technique that uses breathing, cold therapy, and commitment to help you achieve more energy, lowered stress levels, and improved immune system. Wim Hoff recommends taking a cold shower in the morning to improve alertness and energy…and remember to breathe during your cold shower!
4. Listen to Calming Music
Music has the power to shift your mood like when you turn on your favorite pump-up playlist before your workout or when you hear a sad song during a movie. Another great activity to help boost your mental health is to listen to calming music whether you’re driving, cooking or relaxing after a long day! Calming music has the ability to soothe us.
We truly believe that exercise and movement is medicine. It doesn’t matter whether you take a short walk, hit the gym or take your favorite group exercise class – try to move every day. If you cannot dedicate time to get outside or go to the gym, we recommend walking up and down steps. Your body and mind will thank you!
These five simple activities can dramatically improve your health and well–being. If trying all five at once seems like too much, we recommend trying them one at a time. At Brick Bodies we encourage you to take the first step toward boosting your mental health today!