Meditation and exercise are ways to deal with stress while returning to normal amid COVID-19

While Albertans are entering life without most of the COVID-19 restrictions after the final stage of the open-for-summer plan in the province, some may feel stressed or concerned about the return to pre-pandemic circumstances.

David Gabert, the communications director and project coordinator for the Canadian Mental Health Association – Alberta South Region, said it was perfectly normal to feel insecure and anxious during times like these.

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“What we’re going through is change, and change is very stressful. It’s very scary and everyone sees it from a different perspective, ”he explained.

“For the sake of our mental health, it is very important that we validate and listen to someone and, for example, when we are at a family gathering where someone feels they still need to mask, we respect that.”

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Diane Sim, executive director of the Martha Retreat Center in Lethbridge, believes meditation is a great way to find balance and manage stress. The grounds of the center are accessible to everyone.

“It’s very important to find a place where you can be quiet and where you can look for what gives you peace,” she said.

In May, the organization formed a maze in the eastern part of their property. Anyone who participates can read a brochure about the use of the space.

“People can walk through the maze and meditate on themselves,” Sim explained.

“As you walk into the middle of the maze, you think about it, ‘What is on my shoulders? What is bothering me today? ‘ and think about releasing it. “

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When it is not meditation, exercise is also a proven way to support positive mental space.

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Shawn Pinder, co-owner of Runners Soul in Lethbridge, said the organization has seen more interest since the pandemic began.

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He said it had shown physical and mental health benefits for many, including himself.

“It was definitely a great mental escape for me,” he said, adding that running can be a great option for those looking for a free source of exercise away from more populated places like gyms.

“It’s always been a little safer to do outdoor activities, so running continues to be the type of activity that you can even do with a group of people outside and keep a little more distance.”

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