We live in a world that is full of uncertainty, yet imposes more stimuli than ever, bringing peace and calm into your life is vital to maintaining sanity. Whether we are stuck at home doing online schooling with the kids, or in hours of Zoom meetings each day, it seems that everyone and everything is battling for a piece of our attention. In these trying times, how can we bring a sense of serenity to our home-bound routines?
Although wearing comfortable pajamas can be a nice perk of being home, the stress of outside factors is menatlly draining and overwhelming for the vast majority of people living in quarantine. In order to remain healthy, we have to reduce blood pressure, slow down our heart rates, and soothe our nerves after stressful experiences.
The answer may be more simple than we think, and it’s something that we do all day, every day…in fact you’re doing it right now. Breathing. When we implement a simple list of breathing techniques, pair this with a quiet place and ten minutes to yourself, your mood will be lifted and your outlook will be changed immeasurably.
Cathartic Breathing to Reduce Stress
Step 1.) Find a quiet space and sit down in any way that you feel the most comfortable. Close your eyes and relax your facial muscles beginning with the forehead and eyebrows. Next, allow the eye balls to sink inward, taking gentle steadying breaths. Feel your heartbeat deepen.
Step 2.) Relax the nose, mouth area, tongue, and jaw. It may surprise you that you are holding tension somewhere as unassuming as the corners of your mouth, but we use our facial muscles more often than we think. Constant clenching and releasing produces a subconscious stress response in the body.
Step 3.) Let go of any tightness in the shoulders and spine and give yourself permission to focus only on the breath. Think solely of this moment, nothing that has happened prior, or anything that may happen after. Think only of the present and simply be in this moment with yourself.
Step 4.) On your next inhale through the nose, count to five. Hold the breath for five seconds, and exhale through the mouth for five seconds more, repeating this process as much as you would like.
There are no rules to your personal cathartic breathing routine. Notice your heartbeat and always bring yourself back to the present when the mind begins to wander (as it often will). Even after the first thirty seconds, your body will feel more grounded and calm. At first, make a goal of practicing breathwork for three minutes per day, then work your way up to five, then ten. You set the pace. Put in the healing practice that your body is craving, and give yourself the liberty to be rejuvenated and cared for. After all, online homeschooling, mounds of laundry, and Zoom meetings can wait until you get back.