While the South African government has urged that the nation remain calm and take the precautionary measures to protect themselves, the deadly pandemic has continued to cause panic.
We’ve compiled nine quick-ways to destress, whether you’re self-quarantining or simply feeling anxious about the growing Covid-19 outbreak – these quick fixes will ease your stress and help you tackle your daily tasks again.
The drip trick
When stress hits hard, head for the bathroom and drip cold water on your wrists. There are major arteries under the skin of your wrists, so cooling these areas with water can help calm the whole body. Ice cubes work well too – especially if you live in an area with water restrictions.
Fresh and fruity
Send your taste buds on holiday without leaving your seat. Take a five-minute work break to peel, slice and bite into a juicy mango, which contains a compound called linalool that helps lower stress levels.
A stick of gum is a surprisingly quick and easy way to beat stress and anxiety. Just a few minutes of chewing can reduce anxiety and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In a 2009 Japanese study, participants who chewed gum twice a day for 14 days rated their anxiety as significantly less than the non-chewers.
The job at hand
Massages can be especially helpful for people who spend a lot of time typing on a keyboard, and hands can carry a lot of tension. When there’s no professional masseuse in sight, try this DIY hand massage for instant relaxation: apply lotion and start kneading the base of the muscle under the thumb to relieve stress in the shoulders, neck and scalp
Dark and delicious
As little as one square (about 40g) of dark chocolate can instantly calm your nerves as it regulates cortisol levels and stabilises metabolism.
Set the timer on your cellphone and for five minutes concentrate on nothing but your breathing. Take deep breaths and slowly exhale, feeling the weight lift off your shoulders. You can also make use of a yogic practice of breathing through one nostril at a time as it’s said to be a great way to relieve anxiety. Close one nostril with your thumb and breathe in through the other nostril for the count of five. Exhale and repeat on the other side.
Do the twist
Chronic lower back pain is a recurring health issue associated with stress and anxiety disorders, studies show. If you’re feeling a bit frantic, do a spinal twist, suggests Michelle Ebbin, a US-based touch therapy expert. Lie with your back flat on the floor and your arms out to form a T shape. Bring your right knee into your chest, then drop your knee to the left and focus on your breathing for one minute. Repeat on the other side to wring out the tension in your spine.
Stop shouldering it
Many of us carry stress in our shoulders and neck, which can result in stiffness and pain. Making a conscious effort to drop your shoulders several times a day is a good habit to form and will help you do away with a lot of tension.
Instead of opting for coffee, go for green tea. It contains L-theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger. The tea does have a bit of caffeine so you’ll still get your fix.