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Woman backbend yoga pose
Wellness
Published Friday Mar 20, 2020 by Christa Quattrocchi

The "Staying Grounded" Guide to Stress and Anxiety Pre and Post-COVID-19

Meditation
Personal Growth
Renewal

If you've got those familiar feelings of stress and anxiety coursing through your body right now, you're definitely not alone. COVID-19 and this global pandemic have us anxious, coping with stress in weird ways, a new fear of the unknown, potential bouts of depression, maybe a panic attack here and there... We get it. Times are uncertain, our mental health is taxed, we're doing what we can to reduce stress and anxiety in general, and relaxation has taken a back seat. It’s no secret that stress is proven to weaken our immunity, so now more than ever, it's important to relax, deal with what's happening, and find the coping mechanisms to help you reclaim your mental health and reduce your involvement in stressed moments.

Let's deal with stress and anxiety together and see what we can do to reduce it. Here's how...  

 

Woman Meditating
Tune into your breath. 

A symptom of stress is our bodies entering the very real ‘fight or flight’ mode and feeling under attack physically and mentally. While stress and anxiety are taxing in a number of ways to our mental health, meditation can be powerful in combatting the symptoms and shifting from a state of anxiety into a ‘rest and digest’ mode by simply restructuring the way you breathe. Relax, set a timer for ten minutes, and try one of these simple breathing techniques to ease your day and help you be more productive

1.    Long Exhale Breath   
    ◦    Find a comfortable seat or lay down.  

    ◦    Start with a deep cleansing breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. 

    ◦    Establish an equal part breath. Inhale through your nose for 3 counts and exhale through your nose for 3 counts. Repeat this for 5 rounds.  

    ◦    Continue to inhale for 3 counts and lengthen the exhale to 5 counts. (You may play with the counts depending on your lung capacity.) 


2.    Against the Grain Breath  

    ◦    Find a comfortable seat or lay down. 

    ◦    Start with a deep cleansing breath in through your nose and out through the mouth. 

    ◦    Inhale and send it down into your belly and pause. Sip in more air to fill your ribcage, pause. Breathe all the way up to your collarbones, pause at the top. Exhale fully. 

    ◦    Take a cleansing breath in between each round. 


3.    Alternate Nostril Breath  

    ◦    Find a comfortable seat. 

    ◦    Lift your right hand to eye level, palm facing you. Fold your index and middle finger down toward your palm, leaving your pinky, ring, and thumb free. Gently place your ring finger on your left nostril. 

    ◦    Start with a deep cleansing breath in through your nose and out through the mouth. 

    ◦    Use your ring finger to close off your left nostril and inhale through your right nostril. Close your right nostril with your thumb and release your ring finger from the left nostril. Exhale through the left side. 

    ◦    Inhale through the left nostril. Close the left nostril with your ring finger and release your thumb from the right nostril. Exhale through the right side. 

    ◦    Continue to alternate from side to side. 

 

Childs Pose Yoga

Strike a (child’s) pose. 

Stress and anxiety are harbored in the upper body, generating tension in your shoulders and racing in your mind, making it near impossible to hone in on relaxation and deal with those stressed feelings and fear symptoms. Finding the security of the body’s foundation is a great way to get grounded and balance out all that accumulated stressed energy that carries your mind up, up, and away into the land of fear, worst-case scenarios, anxiety, and eventual panic attack symptoms. (Plus, it'll help with your post-at-home-workout recovery!) 

Try this sequence of postures that will help you feel nice and sturdy, as well as relieved and relaxed, letting anxiety and stress know they aren't welcome in this space.

    1.    Child’s Pose – Come down to your hands and knees. Let the tops of your feet and toes smooth on the ground and gather your big toes to touch. Either widen your knees greater than hips distance apart or keep them together and sink your seat all the way back to your heels. Rest your forehead on the ground and outstretch your arms forward. 

    2.    Downward Dog – From child’s pose, tuck your toes under, press into your palms, and lift your hips up to the ceiling creating a ‘V’ shape in your body. Keep your knees soft so your belly can sink back toward your thighs. 

    3.    Standing Forward Bend – Look forward between your thumbs and take slow, heel-toe steps up toward your hands. Your knees can stay soft as you let your torso drape over your legs. Feel the four corners of your feet solid on the ground beneath them and let go of any control over your head, neck, and shoulders. 

    4.    Mountain Pose – Tuck your chin in toward your chest. Ground down into your heels and slowly roll up to stand as if you were moving through honey, lifting your head last. Breathe in deeply and crunch your shoulders up by your ears. On the exhale, let them drop down your back. Stand strong and tall through your legs, fan out your fingers like you want to receive a low-five, and lift tall through your chest. Invite in the feeling of standing on a mountain top. You are strong and grounded here. 


 

Girls Hand Writing
Put pen to paper. 

Depression is very, very real. Burying our emotions and not coping with issues can be a lot like not taking out the trash—things get kind of funky for everyone if it sits around too long. While meditation and breathing exercises can replace anxious feelings with relaxation and mindfulness, journaling can be a great way to also move through any anxious feelings you’re holding onto and stay connected with yourself. If you’re not sure where to start, never fear! Try one of these writing prompts and kick anxiety to the curb:

    •    List 5 things you are grateful for. 

    •    What do you normally wish you had more time for? 

    •    Describe your 3 happiest moments of the last week. 


 

Girl Dancing B&W

Groove it out. 

Want to actually and physically shake anxiety and stress out of your life? Turn a potential panic attack into a dance party with yourself. The saying goes, "Dance like no one’s watching...."—because right now, it’s likely that no one is. Press play on this upbeat playlist we created to help you move that energy around. 

 

Bathtub candles book and tea

Turn your space into an at-home spa. 

Baths and facials are ancient self-care rituals. But let’s be real, these luxuries often get cast aside for more efficient ways of pampering like showers and sheet masks. With the gift of time on your side, slip into the tub and go all out with that 12-step skincare routine you’ve been wanting to try. Reduce the overhead lights, light up some candles, drop in some lavender and eucalyptus essential oils to elevate the ambiance, and kiss anxiety and stress goodbye as you sink into the water. 

Christa Quattrocchi Headshot
Written by
Christa Quattrocchi
Acquisition Program Manager
About the author
Christa is a 300hr certified yoga instructor on a soulful journey to integrate spiritual practices, such as astrology, tarot, and pranayama, in her guidance both on and off the mat. She is Mindbody’s resident witch and advertising aficionado. Beyond her credentials, you can find Christa channeling creativity through writing, cooking plant-based goodness, & surfing her home waters in sunny San Diego.
female massage therapist massaging client in spa
Beauty
Published Wednesday Dec 23, 2020 by Denise Prichard

Unexpected Looks and Learnings from 2020

To put it bluntly—2020 was a real bummer. When we entered the year, we all had that “20/20 vision” mindset of making the year one of travel, joy, discovering new hobbies, and conquering our fitness goals. But come March, that vision became a blurry mess of sheltering-in-place and being forced to throw our normal routines and our aspirations out the window.  

Who would have thought that something like getting a haircut would be off-limits? Or that those monthly massages wouldn’t be around to help us unwind? 2020 forced us to get creative, and you blew us away with your stick-to-itiveness. 

We recently polled you on Instagram to see which beauty and wellness services you missed the most and how you’ve re-vamped your self-care routines to stay sane during this train wreck of a year. And I must say, as I read your responses in my sweats, rocking the messiest top knot of all time, I definitely felt like I need to take it up a notch when it comes to getting ready for the workday.  

Seriously—an alarming number of you have been on point when it comes to sticking to your daily morning routines and actually wearing work clothes while on Zoom calls. Kudos to you!  

Curious to see what the takeaways were from our Instagram poll? Keep reading.

Takeaway #1: All beauty services are missed equally 
beauty services missed 2020

According to your responses, you're all sick of your exposed roots and split ends equally, with 51% of you preferring to get a haircut and 49% opting for hair color. The numbers were also pretty close when it came to your nails—with 52% of you opting for a manicure over a pedicure. Due to the pandemic, the state of the beauty industry has been on a rollercoaster of openings and closings—and they need our help and support now more than ever. If you happen to live in an area where you’re able to enjoy beauty services, make sure you show your stylist or nail artist a little bit of extra love when tipping them.  

 

Takeaway #2: You miss massages, but are ready for touchless spa treatments 
touchless spa treatments

Anybody who knows me will tell you the thing I miss the most is getting a monthly massage—and 71% of you seem to agree. With most of us working from our beds or hunched over our laptops on our couches, our posture (if not our comfort) has taken a serious hit. While most of us either live in an area where massages are off-limits or we just don’t feel safe going in for one quite yet, there are some touchless spa treatments you're ready to try.  

  • 69% of you are interested in trying an infrared sauna treatment—no surprise during the cold winter months. This type of treatment uses light to directly warm your body to increase heart rate, help you sweat out the bad stuff (like all that wine we’ve been drinking), and treat chronic health problems.  
  • 31% of you are willing to brave the cold of cryotherapy. These sessions aim to decrease inflammation and speed up recovery time after an intense workout by standing in an extremely cold chamber of liquid nitrogen or dry, fresh, oxygenated air. 
  • 52% of you are down to try out salt caves. Turns out, Himalayan pink salt isn’t just for you fancy home chefs out there. By sitting in an entire room made of this salt, you can relax and potentially treat respiratory and skin issues.   
  • 48% of you are ready to suit up for a float tank sesh. If you love meditating, this is the perfect touchless spa treatment to try. Float tanks are filled with body-temperature saltwater—and they’re lightless and soundproof. You guys—I’ve tried this and it’s definitely the kind of R&R we all need right now.  
Takeaway #3: Your self-care routines are admirable 

Call it wishful thinking, but I was fully expecting most of you to say, “Zoom camera off” as your go-to beauty tip—but I guess that’s just me. Instead, you've all been pretty consistent with your morning routines—working out, showering, and dressing like you're actually going into an office. Some of you are even going the extra mile and putting on a red lip and some earrings. I’m taking notes.  

And even though this year’s challenges put a damper on our normal routines, it's inspired us to get creative with our skincare regimen. Some of you have added new serums and masks to your skincare arsenal, while others have tried out at-home facials for that quarantine glow. By far, one of the most popular answers was the incorporation of Gua Sha to help detoxify, brighten, and tighten your skin.  

This year was one for the books. But I think it made us realize there is always wellness—and that taking care of ourselves is crucial. If you're in an area where in-house beauty services are an option, book that appointment (if you feel safe to do so). If your only option right now is to stay at home, keep carrying on with your feel-good, at-home routines.  

If you're curious to see what some other wellness trends you should take note of in 2021, check out this blog 
 

denise prichard
Written by
Denise Prichard
Marketing Content Specialist
About the author
Denise Prichard is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and an experienced content marketing professional with a penchant for writing compelling copy within the health, wellness and beauty industries. When she isn't writing or editing, you can find her teaching yoga classes, at a spin class or hanging out with her rescue pups.