Keeping Our Bodies Moving and Coping with Stress!

During this time of uncertainty, it is normal to feel sad, confused, scared or angry. Frankly this whole thing about COVID-19 stresses me out and it affects everyone in some form! The things that keep running through my head daily are: I need to keep working to provide for my family but going to work, what if I bring the virus home? Am I showing my kids too much stress and stressing them out? Am I going to be able to keep them on track with their distance learning? Are my friends and family going to be safe? Just to name a few! We are all going to deal with some form of stress during this time. Let’s be real, stress is never going to go away. These are a few things I am doing to help cope and keep my family moving a smooth as possible.

1) First and for most make sure you are doing your part by washing your hands and the new guidelines set in place by the state of Minnesota.

2) Take some time for yourself to either read or just breath!

Here are a few different breathing techniques, choose the one right for you!

Pursed lip breathing: inhale through your nose for 2 seconds and exhale through puckered or pursed lips for twice as long. This type of breathing technique helps move oxygen into the lungs and carbon dioxide out. This helps to decrease your breathing rate, as well as promote relaxation for the entire body. Repeat this technique 5-10 times.

Belly or Diaphragmatic breathing: Put one hand over your belly and the other hand over your chest. Take a deep breath so that your hand on your belly moves with the inhale to a count of 4. Slowly exhale and feel your hands move with the breath you take. Repeat this technique 5-10 times.

Square breathing: slowly exhale getting all the oxygen out of your lungs. Inhale slowly for a count of 4 and then hold your breath for a count of 4. Slowly exhale for a count of 4 and hold your breath for a count of 4. Repeat this cycle 5 to 10 times.

3) Continue to connect with people while still practicing social distancing. Talk on the phone, text, email or my new favorite Zoom. I was able to talk with 6 of my friends while each still in our home and see each other. These are the times I am so grateful for technology. There are a few different ways to visually chat with people. Zoom is one that my friends had so that is what I got, I’m not very technically savvy.

4) Keep ACTIVE!! There are many different exercise companies doing fitness workouts online. Some have a charge or a month trial for free. If you are a member of Facebook, check your local gym’s page, many instructors are doing live classes from home to keep us moving. With my children we pick a different sport to play each day while staying in the perimeters of our yard. Exercise is known to pump up endorphins, keep our mind healthy, regulate our mood and decrease overall stress!

Try these 5 exercises to get my heart rate up and use all the muscle groups. I have had my 8, 6 and 2 year old do these with me. It keeps are blood flowing and a smile on our face. Laughter is a great stress reliever too!


Standing jump down into a plank then jump legs in and return to standing. Modify if needed to: squat down, lunge one leg back then stand back up, alternate sides each time.


Mountain Climbers

Keeping in a plank position, alternate bringing knees to chest as if you were running. Modify to: standing high knees if wrist pain.


Jumping Jacks

Jump arms up over head and legs out at the same time then return to neutral. Modify to: one arm up and one leg out at a time, alternating.


Push Ups

Plank position, holding core tight, lower body to the floor then push through your arms. Modify to: keeping knees on the floor.



Hold a plank position in full elbow extension with your legs spread slightly apart as shown. Do not let your back arch down. Modify to: keeping knees on the floor.


Perform each exercise for 1 min with 30 seconds of rest in between. Try to work up towards repeating each exercise 3 times for a quick 15-20 min workout. If any of these exercises are too difficult modify as needed.

Remember we are all in this together and we will get through it! Stay safe!

Kerra Pietsch, LPTA, CFNC
Physical Therapist Assistant
Andover Physical Therapy

April 1st, 2020

Posted In: General

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *