3 Ways I Am Reducing Stress During Covid
Last week I was asked to speak on a panel to Presidents, CEO’s, and Executives across Canada though Mackay CEO Forum. The topic we were asked to speak on was what we were doing personally or in our companies to be physically and mentally well during Covid. I was honoured to be on the panel with some of my very favourite people and mentors in the Health and Wellness space. It was an honour to be on the panel with Nancy Mackay (Mackay CEO Forum and Host), Tim Magwood (1-Degree/Shift), Sarah Liverance (Sklar Wilton & Associates) and Dr. Bal Pawa (Integrative Medicine) who were hosts and fellow panel Guests.
Mental Health Issues Off The Charts During Covid
I am sure you have seen some of the statistics around increases in mental health and anxiety levels during Covid. One statistic that really hit home with me was provided by Keith Farazi who shared that anxiety levels have quadrupled during Covid. To back this up, there has been a 40% increase in Mental Health and anxiety related prescriptions during Covid. At Advica Health, we have a service whereby we link any members experiencing Mental Health issues to a Mental Health Navigator in order to get access to the treatment and advice they need (Advicahealth.com). I know from our own statistics that we have seen the demand for this service increase by 270% during the last 6 months.
I can honestly say that personally I have experienced an increase in anxiety and stress during Covid due to a number of reasons and therefore I know it is even more important than ever to implement my own stress reduction strategies. Below I have outlined my top “Stress Reduction” protocols that have really helped me manage unwanted stress during this time.
1.My Number One Stress Reducer – Shutting Down Screens At Night
I believe this is the number one thing I have done in order to reduce stress and reduce anxiety during Covid. Back in March in the early stages of Covid, I was on my computer all day long having virtual meetings, calls and emails and then would continue to be on my laptop at night. My belief is that even if I am doing personal things on my computer in the evening, my brain and nervous system is interpreting that I am actually doing work. In the early days of Covid when I was on my laptop day and night, I felt that I was working day and night and also was having a tough time sleeping. I found that as soon as I stopped going on my laptop and phone in the evenings, my stress levels reduced and I started sleeping like a baby.
In order to ensure I don’t cheat, I actually have been leaving my laptop charging in my office when I am done working so I am not tempted to go on it. In addition I leave my phone on a table near the front door charging so once again I am not tempted to go on it or check it. I also believe this is helping me sleep better as I am reducing my exposure to EMF’s and the light that the screens emit. To read more about this and the ways you can reduce EMF exposure you can access it here: https://kevinbradyhealth.ca/6-things-i-do-to-reduce-exposure-to-emfs/
Since the beginning of Covid, I have been super consistent with my work out schedule. I typically alternate between strength(weights) and Cardio which I have been mainly cycling and average 6-7 days per week of exercise. Not only does exercise keep us in great shape and activate our cardiovascular system, it is an amazing way to reduce stress. We also know that exercise releases our “positive” or happy hormones called endorphins into our system that not only reduces stress but makes us feel great.
Reversing My Typical Trend – Outdoors This Winter
Since most of my days are spent indoors in my office and on my computer having virtual meetings or doing emails, I am making a concentrated effort to get outside whenever the weather permits. Typically this time of year I have moved most of my workouts indoors however this year I am reversing this trend and trying to get outside even in the cold and early morning dark days. Although it is cold and dark, I find that by dressing in my winter gear it is fine and I actually love getting out early and seeing the early morning sun rise. My plan is to continue this throughout the winter and switch my activities and workouts to winter sports such as winter fat tire biking, cross country skiing, downhill skiing or just taking hikes or walks outdoors.
Since I have felt that I have been experiencing an increase in my stress levels during Covid, I have been making a point of practicing my breath work and breathing exercising every day. I find one of the most effective times of day for me to practice this is prior to falling a sleep at night. It is amazing how by just incorporating some breath work into my daily routine how it right away activates my parasympathetic (calm)nervous system and calms me down. Some of my favourite breathing exercises that can be done in a couple of minutes are Box Breathing as well as 4/7/8. To learn more about my 3 favourite short breathing techniques, you can access it here:https://kevinbradyhealth.ca/my-3-simple-techniques-for-stress-reduction/
Summary of My Top 3 Stress Reduction Techniques
I have a number of other techniques to reduce stress however I wanted to share my “Top 3” and I am hoping that by you incorporating these daily practices, you will experience the same reduction in stress that I have:
1.Shut Down Computer and Phone in the evenings
2.Exercise – Outside as much as possible
3.Practice your daily Breathing
Wishing you and your family all the best in health and happiness during this time and always,