The pandemic that dominated most of 2020 was hard on all of us which meant we dealt with an overwhelming amount of stress every single day. Stress has been dubbed “the silent killer” because the effects are gradual but, if not treated properly, can be deadly. Some of the symptoms of stress include a lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and overall poor mental health and these can severely impact your well-being over time. Adriana Alejandre, licensed marriage and family therapist the founder of LatinxTherapy, points out that these types of challenging situations along with the lockdown during the pandemic are just some of the many triggers that can be overwhelming. We’re sharing Latina therapist-approved tips on how to manage your stress and add positive habits to your daily routine.
Many people are dealing with job loss, home schooling, and depression as a result of the pandemic which can have long-term effects. “To combat stress and anxiety, it is essential to recognize our triggers,” Alejandre said in an Instagram Live on family stress. She suggests listing things that may increase your stress levels and create a plan to deal with those triggers.
Release Negative Energy
In an Instagram post, Gloria Osborne, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and founder of Glow In Therapy, says that releasing negativity is key, especially right now. This is a great time to write out a forgiveness list and burn it. Think of it as a time to emotionally clear out what is no longer serving you.
Start a Stress-Reducing Conversation
Outside stressors can have a significant impact on the relationships you have, whether that be with friends, family members, coworkers, or partners. Genesis Games, psychotherapist and owner of Healing Connections, posts on her Instagram that checking-in, preferably daily, for about 20 minutes can help you and another individual feel less stressed and more supported.
Take Time to Recharge
Self-care is so important! Lorena Ramos, bilingual therapist and emotional development coach, suggests taking some time to recharge and do something meaningful for yourself. Practicing self-care can help you feel more attuned to your needs, both physically and emotionally, as well as feel more productive and aware of your own surroundings.
We live in a sedentary world – sitting at our desks for hours on end, long commutes to work, endless hours on our phones or tablets. According to Jacqueline Mendez, certified therapist and life coach, movement is the key to feeling more alive. It naturally creates more joy and clarity in every day activities. Start with stretching your arms over your head and you roll out your wrists, move your hips, and breathe. Mendez says, “play your favorite song and move to it in ways that you normally don’t.”
Many mental health professionals support individuals in learning effective way to cope with stress. Positive affirmations are one of the skills that can help shape your behaviors and thoughts, when practiced consistently. On her Instagram page, Genesis Espinoza, a licensed marriage and family therapist, suggests choosing a positive affirmation that is one sentence long, make it something you believe about yourself, and commit to repeating it several times a day.
Take Time to Reflect
During this pandemic, you probably experienced and continue to experience stress. Dr. Lydiana Garcia, psychologist and host of The Beyond Resilience Life podcast, says it’s important to reflect about the things that bring joy, peace, relaxation, happiness, and many other positive emotions and feelings to your life. In an Instagram IGTV, she suggests asking yourself to recognize your emotions through your five senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste.
Take a Break from Social Media
This past year we have been in lockdown which forced us to look at our TV, computer and phone screens more than ever before. In an interview with Harold News, Anabel Basulto, a licensed marriage and family therapist, suggests avoiding spending excessive time on social media. Instead, read a book, watch a movie, or take a walk. If you are using technology, use Face Time, Skype, or other programs that will allow you to feel connected to the ones you love without having to look at social media.
You’ve probably heard that deep breathing can help relieve stress. Adriana Alejandre took to her IGTV and said this is because “breathing activates our physiological system, which reminds us to relax.” Breathing brings so much oxygen to the brain which helps you think more clearly. Try breathing exercises like diaphragmatic breathing or alternate nostril breathing.