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10 Tips to manage anxiety and cope with stress during COVID confinement

I believe that mental health is as important as physical health, and in this moment where we need to be confined in our homes, anxiety and depression can be triggered at any time. This is why I’ve decided to create a list of tips to help you deal with these emotions.

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10 Tips to manage anxiety and cope with stress during COVID confinement

Hello, thank you so much for taking your time to read this. I hope you’re coping so far with the confinement situation, but it’s obvious that it’s not been easy to deal with the uncertainty and stress this situation has created for all of us.

I believe that mental health is as important as physical health, and in this moment where we need to be confined in our homes, anxiety and depression can be triggered at any time. This is why I’ve decided to create a list of tips to help you deal with these emotions.

I’m not a psychologist, I’m merely a photographer in Paris, but I’ve been reading about neuroscience and how the mind works for years, it’s a topic that fascinates me, and now I’ll be glad to apply what I’ve learnt if it can be of any help for any of you. Lets get started:

gloria villa paris boudoir photographer sitting on the edge of a lake in france
Photo by Ian Holmes

1. GRATITUDE PRACTICE

This is probably the most powerful tool I have to train my brain and stay positive. I’ve been doing this for years and this literally has changed my life. When you say thank you and count your blessings, you force your brain to focus on all the good things you have in your life, you remind yourself of so many good aspects that you otherwise would simply take for granted.

For example: your health, your ability to breath, the roof over your head, your capability to move and be independent, your family, your friends, your job, your passions or hobbies… the list is infinite. Everybody has their own particular list (as we are all unique beings) and everyone has something to be grateful for. You don’t have to be religious or have “someone” to thank, just simply do it, whatever works for you it’sfine (God, the universe, the Sun…).

gloria villa boudoir paris photographer laying on the ground in meditation
Photo by Ian Holmes

2. MEDITATE

I know meditation can be either intimidating or extremely dull but I promise you, IT WORKS! Meditation simply consist of closing your eyes and focus on your breathing. That’s it! While you’re doing that you’ll notice your mind will start wandering and you simply (without judgement or anger, and with a lot of compassion) will bring it back. Why is this important, you may ask? How is that going to help?

Well, meditation helps you with focusing and calms your nervous system, giving you the opportunity to be aware of your feelings. When you slow down to think (which crazy enough, we don’t do that often) we acknowledge our feelings, then we can label them (name them) and then address them. In other words you learn to control your feelings and don’t let your feelings control you.

3. EXERCISE

Ok, this is pretty obvious and I won’t be spending too much time listing all the benefits of exercise for your health, BUT… Exercise releases endorphin dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in your brain which are chemicals crucial to regulate your mood, in other words, they make you feel happier.

There are tons of free resources out there that require no equipment to do this. I personally do yoga with YouTube videos, but that’s just something that works for me. Find whatever you like and do it (jump the rope, do pushups, dance, etc).

Boudoir photographer in Paris Gloria Villa smiling at the camera
Photo by Ian Holmes

4. POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS

This is another brain hack and it works! Positive affirmations allow me to convince myself of a particular fact that I want to believe as true, it’s a way of programming my brain or talk to myself, if you will. I’ve experienced the power of positive affirmations first hand as very often, what I repeat becomes a reality. I’ve learnt through the years to believe in the power of words not because anyone has told me about it , but because this manifests in my life.

You can get inspiration to find the best affirmations by searching on Pinterest. You’ll see there’s a big list, and you can choose just the ones that talk to you or you want to incorporate in your life. Here I share with you my favorite one, I repeat it every day, several times a day: “I deserve, I accept and I receive immense abundance of love, health, money and happiness from multiple sources of the cosmic universe and I manifest this by being loving to myself and to others all the time”.

Boudoir photographer in Paris Gloria Villa detail shot of her rings
Photo by Ian Holmes

5. DRESS UP

This is actually advice that every business coach gives to entrepreneurs when they take the leap and decide to become independent.

Going from working in an office environment to working from home can be a very lonely experience, and therefore you might not see the point of taking your shower every morning, doing your hair and dressing up properly, but believe me, it helps.

It prepares you to get ready for the day, will take some time of your day and boost your mood as you feel nice and deserving. People often don’t realize but while they’re getting ready they’re thinking about what the day holds, making plans and setting intentions for the future.

 

6. GIVE YOURSELF A PROJECT

There are probably lots of projects that you have been postponing because of lack of time and this is the TIME. Do something that has a beginning an end and systematic steps in between, that way you’ll see that you’re actually achieving something.

This project can be anything that speaks to you and it can be pretty much anything (paint a canvas, create a photograph every day, try a new recipe every day, knit a scarf, complete a puzzle… Creativity is not a talent, is a skill that you can enhance with practice. It will make you feel productive and give you a sense of purpose.

dreamy photo of Boudoir photographer in Paris Gloria Villa

7. KEEP YOURSELF BUSY

This point is related to the previous one and it’s important.

I notice that when I don’t have anything to do I get depressed. Why? I have too much time to think and if you don’t know how to manage your thoughts this could be very destructive. So keep yourself busy.

Watch movies, play video games, play board games, clean the windows or the kitchen, cook and try new recipes. DO STUFF! An idea that comes to mind is to learn a new skill, there are lot’s of online courses that your can try, and many of them are even free, so take advantage and become a better version of yourself.boudoir paris photographer gloria villa posing with hat during spring time

8. CREATE A VISION BOAR

A vision board is a collage of photos and phrases of things you want to achieve, or you would like to get in the future. It’s a really good exercise to clear your mind and set your goals.

When you put them in the physical world instead of just your mind, you’re able to visualize and focus on the actions you need to take to achieve those goals. It will give you a sense of purpose, something to look forwards to and you’ll be more likely to achieve them.

Double exposure of Boudoir photographer in Paris Gloria Villa
Photo by Ian Holmes

9. BE GENEROUS

We’re in this together, so sharing our time, skills or money is crucial to overcome this crisis. It’s also proven that you’ll get more levels of satisfaction when you buy a gift for somebody you care about than buying something for yourself.

Therefore you’re not only doing it for altruistic motives but also it will make you feel better by helping someone in need! Everybody wins!

10. LEARN

I really believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t want to sound to “Wohoo”, but it’s been like that through my life all the time.

A series of synchronicities always happen to put me in the right place at the right time. This crisis is a learning lesson for the entire planet. We live in very individualistic societies where there are no sense of community. This is forcing us to work together towards a common goal.

We need to put health, family, friends and the environment above profit and understand that everything can vanish in the blink of an eye if keep going in the same direction.

Many things are going to change and it’s our job to listen, learn and shift our habits. Let’s embrace this amazing opportunity and do something good out of this chaos.

gloria villa boudoir paris photographer smiling at the camera with French lake in the background
Photo by Ian Holmes

 

Hey Gloria, I’m ready, let’s do this!

gloria villa boudoir paris photographer smiling at the camera on her about page

You deserve it!

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