I can’t recall a year when stress and anxiety impacted me more than in 2020. As a person who usually errs on the side of optimistic bias, this ominous energy shift definitely threw me. But I’m not alone in this sentiment. According to the American Psychiatric Association, 62% of Americans feel more anxious than they did at this time last year. Quarantine has upended our lives in so many ways—socially, financially, psychologically—and we’re all learning how to deal with this “new normal.”
As a result, so much of our lives have blurred together (work, life, family, relationships) with little to no guard rails. Resetting and creating those boundaries will be critical as we enter this next phase to ensure there is a separation or “healthy space” between each aspect of our lives to protect, preserve, and restore our mental health.
Now we’re in the midst of the holidays which is already stress-inducing on its own. Fuse that with the pandemic (and everything else politically) and we have a recipe for anxiety. So, I wanted to share three simple but effective tips to reduce stress and anxiety that have been helping me so we can all sleep well (thanks to my new Integrative Therapeutics sleep support protocol—but more on that later!), take care of ourselves, and find joy this season.
*this post is in partnership with Integrative Therapeutics
Start a Journaling Practice
This has to be one of the most tried and true stress-reducing practices out there. It might seem like a chore at first, but this simple tool is one of the most highly effective daily rituals in reducing stress and anxiety.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some of the science. Psychology Today states that “writing about struggles and feelings may help you cope with the global pandemic.” But research aside, the evidence is in the practice. I urge you to just try journaling for a week and see how it can help.
If you don’t want to write a daily journal, then try freeform writing. My sister introduced it to me a few years ago and it’s been another great tool for me. For this practice, you simply grab a nearby pen and paper and write down everything on your mind for five minutes with no breaks. Don’t think about it too much, just write and see what comes up.
I will also use journal prompts to help me release certain negative emotions or feelings, such as:
“I release this negative energy that is no longer serving me because…”
“I let go of the (feeling/emotion) and let in the (feeling/emotion) so that I can___”
“I forgive myself for the…”
“I release the guilt around (feeling/emotion)…”
“I no longer hold onto the feeling of…”
“I replace the feeling of ____ with ____ so I can ____”
Then once your time is up and you have finished writing everything down, then rip it up, say thank you, and throw it in the trash. You can literally feel the negativity releasing from your body—the dark giving away to the light. It’s so healing and powerful. Give it a try and experience the change for yourself.
Take Up Daily Movement
I can’t express how important exercise has been for me during quarantine. I have always been a proponent of daily movement but this need has amplified since lockdown earlier this year. And I’m not saying you need to sweat every day either. I’m talking about a daily practice where you allow yourself to get out of your head and be in your body and to feel immense gratitude for the ability to do that.
As the Mayo Clinic outlines, “exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.” But remember, the term exercise is fluid here and it doesn’t have to include a gym or workout class— and it certainly doesn’t need to cost you money either. In fact, I prefer the term movement because the goal is simply to move your body more, whatever form that comes in—just make sure it’s something you enjoy and mix it up. This can include walking, stair climbing, jogging, dancing, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, gardening, weightlifting, body-weight exercises, swimming, walking the dog, foam rolling, rebounding—the list goes on.
There are so many free videos on YouTube too. I love the PopSugar Fitness YouTube channel because there is a different workout type for every mood or level. It’s also where I discovered Megan Roup—her cardio dance and sculpt workout is so much fun—and subsequently subscribed to her Sculpt Society app because I love it so much. I think the teachers make all the difference and Megan really empowers me throughout every class as though I have a personal trainer. Jake DuPree’s workouts are also a lot of fun which is important because you might as well be laughing while you’re sweating!
So, give your brain a break and get physical.
Disrupted daily routines as a result of quarantine have also taken their toll on our sleep. Who isn’t feeling tired right now? I have to admit that at the beginning of lockdown, I took advantage of the extra time I had each morning now that I didn’t have to commute to the office. I would often go to bed at midnight or 1 AM and then sleep until 8:30 AM or later only to find myself feeling more exhausted, anxious, and irritable than ever.
And I’m not the only one. Thanks to new schedules which have us resetting—or turning off—alarm clocks and often getting less outdoor time and exercise, these problems are getting worse.
A body that cannot sleep cannot heal, so, I decided to do something about it. Introducing the Integrative Therapeutics Sleep Support protocol.* If this is your first time learning about it then you’re in luck. The combination of all three supplements in this bundle—HPA Adapt, Cortisol Manager, and ProSom—has been a great way to support my sleep schedule and has helped me manage the stress and anxiety I feel from time to time.*
Trust me, this science-based supplement system is a total game-changer but what I love the most is how personalized it is. Before you buy anything, you take their interactive assessment quiz ( takes less than 30 seconds to fill out). Then, once you have your recommendation, the quiz takes you straight to Amazon where you can order it via Prime and start working on those Z’s, stat! Not only am I sleeping better I’m more productive and present every day too.*
If you want to give the Integrative Therapeutics Sleep Support bundle a try, get excited: Use 10Camille10 at checkout to get 10% off on any bundle on Amazon.com
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.