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Dealing with Pandemic Stress?

It has been almost a year now since the pandemic started. And we feel it! Negative effects of the ongoing Covid-19 situation are becoming more and more apparent. Many people report they are run-down, low energy or easily irritated. The devastating and unpredictable situation is an anxiety provoking and stressful time.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), we were already in the midst of a growing mental health crisis fueled by stress and burnout. Now, 40% of Canadians say that their mental health has deteriorated since last March. This is alarming!


On a scale one to 10, what stress level do you experience? These questions might help you to find out how stressed you are:

Do you notice any physical symptoms such as headaches, pains in the body, stomach pain, dizziness or tightness in your chest? Do you have any digestive issues? Are your muscles tensed?

Do you feel depressed, restless, anxious? Are you often feel sad and worried? Maybe you have difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly? Are you irritable? Easily Overwhelmed?

Do you consume more alcohol, coffee or sugary foods than usual? Are you overly tired? Do you lack motivation? Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you nervous? Are you often in conflict with your spouse?

Stress presents itself in my different ways, and stress symptoms are not always easy to identify. The fact is, we frequently don’t know we are stressed. We may just keep going. Stress may be something we live with, and it feels normal. When we are stressed, it is also difficult to think clearly, so noticing what is going on might be difficult. We may need another person to tell us, or we may have a break-down and then realize our stress level is high.


Don’t let it get to that point of a break-down or burn out. Check in with yourself and regularly ask yourself how you are.

To be able to check in we need to take time to pause and be able to listen to ourselves. Here are some examples of pausing: Taking a few deep breaths, drinking a cup of tea in silence, meditating or jotting down a few things in your journal. Practicing the Alexander Active Rest is also an excellent way to create some space for ourselves.


It is a good idea to develop some strategies to keep stress levels low. Make sure to stick to these strategies. It is very individual what works best, so chose something that works for you! Be open. Try out new things. Go back to what works before. Explore! Try physical exercise, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, smiling to yourself… Here are a few more examples how to lower your stress and tension:

· Talk to others: Telling others about what is going on is important. Studies have shown that simply talking about our problems and sharing our negative emotions with someone we trust helps to process them, alleviate stress, reduce physical stress symptoms and even strengthens our immune system. Phone calls and video calls are essential during the pandemic!

· Dance! Put on your favourite music, make some space in your living room … and dance! Dancing increases levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin. It helps develop new neural connections, and improves memory and self-control. Dancing makes you more relaxed and happier! You may enjoy just dancing on your own or with your family… or take an online dance class!

· Touch! Touch is hard to come by during the pandemic. Get it where and when you can! Cuddle with your pets. Give hugs to the members of your household. Or get a massage, Reflexology or Alexander session. Touch helps to reduce anxiety, improves our overall well-being and makes us feel more secure, safe and protected.

· Laugh! It has been researched that laughter reduces blood cortisol (stress hormone) and thereby alleviates stress. Laughter also helps support the immune system, stimulates organs and increases endorphins in the brain. It can stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation. Laughter helps you to feel great! – Make it habit to watch comedy movies or read funny stories!

· Enjoy Nature! Fortunately, the pandemic doesn’t stop us from going outside into Nature. – Do you feel the revitalizing effects after spending a few hours outside? We all know how good Nature makes us feel. Nature calms us. Nature may make us feel grounded. Nature connects us with ourselves. Nature lets us relax and breathe deeper. Nature helps us rejuvenate, heal and de-stress!


Balance Arts Studio offers Reflexology and Alexander Technique to help release stress and improve health and well-being! Both modalities have the benefit to work with touch which is essential in lowering stress and gaining physical and emotional health. My clients feel more centered, relaxed and calm after even one treatment. Give it a try!


Balance Arts Studio is now open at its new location in Nanaimo. The beautiful studio looks out to the garden and the bird sanctuary, and provides a calming and healing atmosphere. Take advantage of the special offer: 50% off your first session. Please contact me for more information or to make an appointment! Heike 778.245.1750

Please note: To keep you safe, we take all the necessary Covid-19 measures including facial covering, sanitizing and enhanced cleaning, and determining suitability for a treatment by using the Covid-19 self-assessment tool.

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