Quarantine, long hours of working at home, fear of getting sick or losing a job during the coronavirus pandemic, may affect mental health, causing tiredness, stress, anxiety and insomnia. However, dealing with stress in a healthy way can boost immunity and make the current situation more bearable.
One of the first steps is to make the commitment to take care of oneself.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people take breaks from the news, keep in touch with their friends, refrain from drinking alcohol and using drugs. It also recommends daily exercise, a healthy diet and learning to meditate.
According to Rafael Puebla, a certified mindfulness teacher, meditation is very simple to do. “Sit down comfortably, close your eyes and breathe in a relaxed way. If you get distracted, simply refocus on inhaling. It generates a relaxation effect because when we focus on our breath, we activate a part of the nervous system, responsible for breathing.”
For those who are not ready to meditate but want to learn breathing techniques to relax, one way to follow is the box breathing method, which is also known as the Navy Seal Technique. One begins by expelling the air from the chest and keeping the lungs empty for a four-count hold. Then, inhaling through the nose for four seconds, holding that air for another four-count and releasing within four seconds.
The benefits of meditation are many, but according to Puebla, “Meditation practice helps one to live more fully, generating mental clarity to see things as they are and not as one imagines they are”. He emphasizes that this is why meditation is so recommended in times of stress, crisis, change
Following the CDC guidelines, meditating and breathing are great allies to find a balance in times of crisis.
This article is adapted from 'Café Dato' a digital series produced by Univision News. Café Dato takes complicated subjects and explains them in a clear, simple and conversational way over a cup of coffee. (Available on: UnivisionNoticias.com, YouTube, Noticiero Univision Edición Digital and Univision’s early morning show Despierta América.)