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Take a few minutes to stop and care for your mental health, too. (c) Styled Stock Society

As you’ve probably noticed, the situation with COVID-19, our novel coronavirus, is very fluid. That’s unsettling in and of itself. People generally like stable situations, not constant flux. People generally don’t like change. Some people (like me) don’t like not having control. All of these can leave you feeling a bit lost and adrift, especially in the sea of misinformation that is the internet. (That’s before we even think about turning on a news broadcast!)

Plus it’s not a “fun” flux. We’re not getting happy news or pleasant surprises. Waiting for more shoes to drop is enough to make anyone anxious. On top of that we are supposed to practice social distancing, which largely means “stay home.” For those of us who get our social needs met at work and other activities, this can lead to loneliness or depression on top of anxiety. Even for dyed-in-the-wool introverts.

Please note that I am not a licensed counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or any other flavor of qualified mental health practitioner. PLEASE seek professional help immediately if you are in crisis!

Resources for Crisis and Immediate Need

Feelings of scarcity around money and food can be eating disorder triggers. Some resources:

These are definitely not the only resources available–a quick Google search may help you locate something more appropriate. (I welcome comments below with the equivalent services in your country or location.)

Even a short pause during the day to clear your mind can help. (c) Styled Stock Society

Stressed, Depressed, Anxious?

Many Americans are feeling stressed, depressed, or anxious due to the current situation with COVID-19. I’m writing this to provide a collection of potential resources to those feeling stressed or anxious. General mental hygiene advice is good, but it is easy to dismiss as out-of-touch with the current reality. Here are some people and organizations to keep an eye on during this time, following by a list of articles you might find helpful.

VirusAnxiety.com is the very first resource I found that attempts to address mental health and well-being specifically related to COVID-19. Because it is easy to remember, I’ve been splattering it everywhere. I find the simple layout of the site soothing.

Grokker (the fitness app/streaming service) has put together a free course on COVID-19 Coronavirus Prpeparedness. It is a sane guide to fact-based knowledge, no hype at all. One of the videos is dedicated to reducing stress and anxiety. It’s free, and you don’t need a grokker account to watch.

Xen Strength. Founder Danielle Diamond is offering a free guided meditation with full-body relaxation. You can access it online here.

Marie Forleo is a force of nature, and a woman I admire greatly. How many people do you know who have been Reebok dance professional and go on to run a business empire?? Her collection of resources is called “Coronavirus Support Guide: How to Stay Strong & Navigate This Time Together.” It has a curated collection for several topics, including stress and anxiety, “feel good” stuff, how to work from home, how to educate and entertain your kids, and how to serve your community. The comments section is also worth a read. Something for everyone.

Brendan Burchard is also a force of nature (and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him on video talking to Marie!). He recently did a live stream focused on leadership and keeping focus while the COVID-19 situation develops. These are specifically geared towards people who are coaches, or in leadership positions, but I think anyone would find them valuable. “Coronavirus Response: Fear, Focus and Forecasting.” This is more of a tough-love approach.

Ramit Sethi the author and speaker, is hosting “Fireside Chats” every night at 8:30 pm eastern in IG live https://www.instagram.com/ramit He has a list of topics posted on his Instagram, with more to come.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have some resources. They are largely aimed at specific populations. I found them a bit dry, but I didn’t click through to the children’s activities.

5 Ways to Manage Your Anxiety During the Coronavirus Outbreak.”  https://www.shape.com/syndication/coronavirus-anxiety? Valuable advice includes limiting your media diet and realizing that it is actually okay to be worried. (Everyone is worried a little bit, even if they are not anxious!). A quick read.

“How to Cope with Anxiety—Now, in 60 Minutes, and Long Term.”https://greatist.com/health/how-to-cope-with-anxiety This is more of a how to do it article, with a list of suggestions, but also instructions on how to execute them. It doesn’t just advise you to “breathe deeply” but instead offers a specific step-by-step. There are linked resources for apps, articles, and citations (backing claims with sources).

Anxiety and Depression Association of America has a website with a specific page dedicated to COVID-19. There are links to a bunch of different essays, news articles where members are quoted, and links to resources on PTSD. A number of resources specifically address talking to teens and children.

American Psychological Association has a podcast episode specific to COVID-19. The guest is “Baruch Fischhoff, PhD, is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and an expert on public perception of risk and human judgment and decision-making. He explains why we worry about new risks more than familiar ones, how to calm our anxiety and what are the psychological effects of being quarantined.”

AHA Voices for Healthy Kids. https://voicesforhealthykids.org/internal/coronavirus-covid-19-resources-you-can-use They describe this collection as a “list of coronavirus resources from our partners and grantees on the frontlines of helping families in underrepresented communities:”

“49 things to do if you’re staying at home due to Coronavirus.”https://medium.com/@neilpasricha/49-things-to-do-if-youre-staying-home-due-to-coronavirus-19b9e47a3cfe This list includes both adult thinks (like reading a long but worthwhile book) and kid-friendly ones, like making a pillow fort. There are links to online resources (the most popular TED talks of 2019, anyone?).  Many of these ideas are about establishing new habits, which seems like a good idea when your entire daily routine has been shot to hell.

“21 Productive Things to Do Today” https://www.urbandaddy.com/articles/43291/21-productive-things-to-do-today The subtitle promises that each one is “social distancing approved.” Some of these are humorous, but all are things you can actually do. Some are short (donate to your favorite charity) others are longer-term projects like learning a foreign language. This is a short, quick read.

“COVID-19: Tips for Working Remotely And Combating Stress.”https://www.lizandmollie.com/blog/2020/3/12/covid-19-tips-for-working-remotely-and-combating-stress Yes, in 2020 it is much more common for people to “telecommute” than it was back when I was growing up in the 1980s. That doesn’t mean all of us know how to do it. Personally, I thought it would be much easier than it has turned out to be. This article has 7 suggestions to help those of us who are new to this way of working. (Heck, I don’t even have an office! I’m working from the sofa and dining table!)

“11 Tips for Staying Calm During the Time of the Coronavirus.” https://gretchenrubin.com/2020/03/10-tips-for-staying-calm-during-coronavirus Gretchen Rubin’s article goes well with a mug of warm tea or a mocha, in my mind. Some of the tips are standard fare (connect with friends and family, reach out to others to help you feel less isolated) but are, of course, sincere. My favorite tip is to tidy up, because even though it makes no actual sense, that has always made me less anxious. (Also since I just moved in November, and have a few projects going on, my house is in a shambles and needs it!)

“9 Ways to Make Working From Home More Joyful”https://www.aestheticsofjoy.com/2020/03/9-ways-to-make-working-from-home-more-joyful/ Whether you love working from home or resent being pushed out of your office, here are a few ways to make your working day better. Getting some sunshine has really helped me out.

“4 Tips for Not Touching Your Face, Since It’s So Hard To Stop.”https://www.shape.com/syndication/how-to-stop-touching-your-face? Why do we touch our own faces? I don’t know, but I know I do it too. It’s one of those things they tell you NOT to do as a kid, again again when you’re a tween or teen and your face breaks out. But it sems like we do it all the time without even noticing!

Can you find a few minutes in your day to unplug and unwind? (c) Styled Stock Society

How are you caring for your mental health?

What are your go-to practices and resources?

Disclosure: I received an Addaday Pro Massage Roller because I am a BibRave Pro. (Per usual, all opinions are my own–you should know by now I don’t need any help with that, I’ve got plenty of ’em!) Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro here. Read and write race reviews at BibRave.com!

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Photo Credit: Addaday

Kelly Starrett wrote, “All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.” This is one of my favorite quotes because it is empowering–I don’t need another person to take basic care of my body. Starrett knows what he’s talking about, too–he has a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, started one of the very first CrossFit boxes, founded MobilityWOD, and has trained thousands of athletes in technique and body maintenance. He’s published two fantastically delicious books on taking care of soft tissue.

“All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves” sounds pretty awesome, but if you’ve ever tried to give yourself a massage, or work out a deep muscle knot, you know it is a bit trickier than it sounds. It’s hard to hit the right spots with consistent pressure when your arms don’t bend that way. Enter the Addaday Pro Massage Roller: multiple ways to reach those muscles with just the right stuff. The right tool really makes a difference–just ask Erica at Another Half…Please?

The Pro model has five knobby things Addaday calls “gears.” Each of them moves independently, so you can move the tool in more ways than you could if they were connected. Each of the four bigger gears is like an orb with scoops taken out of it. This design does several things. The website touts that it won’t grab hair, but I think they’re discussing leg hair there. What I noticed is that unlike a flat massage ball, the shape of these balls made my muscles feel kneaded, not just pressed on.

If you have no idea what you’d do with this tool, Addaday’s got you covered. (Though Chadd over at Running for the Average Joe found the tool pretty self-explanatory.) The website has several very helpful videos with demonstrations of the various techniques in the Quick Tutorials part of the education section. When my Pro first arrived I watched all the videos and copied the techniques. If my muscles could talk, they would say, “nomnomnom!”

The Addaday Pro is lightweight and portable, but also sturdy. During the time I’ve been testing it, I’ve taken it across the country (yes, it is permitted in carry-on luggage–though some TSA people did ask me what it is, since they were curious). The compact size is definitely a plus, especially if you’re working in a tight space like Laura over at Presently Running, need to roll in your car (no, not kidding–click here), or if you have a trip to Portugal planned, like Christine at Dr. Runner.

Carry-on approved!
Carry-on approved!

By the way, if you do carry your Addaday Pro like this, attached to your backpack, watch out for your hair. Yes, the gears don’t grab hair; but the spaces in between the gears are super into ponytails. (Especially if you have long, baby-fine, straight hair like mine, apparently. Ouch!)

Most of you reading this are probably runners, and are now thinking of this as a running tool (yes, it is great to roll out your glutes and your IT band, and that little red knob is great on the bottom skinny part of your calf muscles). But look back to Dr. Starrett’s quote; it’s not about athletes, it says “all human beings.”  You think athletes are hard on their bodies? Try driving a desk for a living!

So I’ve also taken my Addaday to work. Sometimes my poor body has to endure a week of sitting at those awful hotel conference tables, in chairs designed to stack well (and not designed to care for a human body). While I constantly hydrate, and take advantage of the breaks to stretch and move, there’s nothing like a post-workday self-massage with the Addaday Pro.

Addaday reporting for work
Addaday reporting for work

The portability of this tool makes it extra useful. Don’t take my word for it, check out what Tom had to say over at Runs and Places. You can check out some other reviews by BibRave Pros Darlin’ Rae, The Caffeinated Runner, The Sunny Side, and See Jess Run.

I have a stable of self-myofascial release tools, including a Tiger Tail, Knotty Tiger, Curve Ball, The Grid, The Nano, The Roll 8, and the full set of Yoga TuneUp/The Roll Model tools. Each of them has their own special place in my routine–er, when I am not being lazy and I get them out and do my mobility work–so I was skeptical about the weird-looking Addaday Pro. I’m really thankful I had the opportunity to test it out, as it has been especially helpful during my travels during the past month. If you’re in the market for a tool, try this one!