It can feel like a thud in your chest, tension in your jaw, swirling in your stomach; stress sets in during life’s most difficult moments. During unprecedented events such as COVID-19 and civic unrest, stress intensifies – and 2020 is definitely an unprecedented year. According to a June study conducted in India by the Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 80% of participants experienced anxiety and preoccupation with contracting COVID-19. The American Psychological Association reports that “…more than two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) say that the 2020 U.S. presidential election is a significant source of stress in their life.”

We’re all experiencing increased levels of stress this year, which is why it’s so important to pause and focus on your mental health. While many events are out of our control, you should feel empowered to take control of your response to stress. Coping mechanisms are a helpful way to make the new level of stress more manageable.

Technovation’s team is feeling the stress as well, and we wanted to share some simple stress management tips that may give you some relief, too:

1. Schedule Time to Focus on The Positive

Amy Kim, our Chief Operations Officer, started a bedtime routine with her daughter where they discuss something special that happened during their day.

During the Technovation Girls season, the Technovation Team sets aside space at the start of certain meetings to highlight positive moments. These positive moments range from having watched an alumnus give a remarkable presentation at a conference, a story from a volunteer who inspired us, or an email from a student  that reminded us to be grateful for this incredible community.

Even taking just a minute to think about something nice that happened to you today—like a smile from a friendly neighbor, seeing a cute dog at the park, or getting some sun—can make you feel better.

2. Get Your Body Moving 

Judy Ahumada, our Director of Partnerships, and Kate Young, our Fundraising Coordinator, both like to roller skate to relieve stress (and they’re amazing at it). Judy told us, “I put on my roller skates, listen to some good 80’s/90’s music in my headphones, and VIBE for miles!”

Our Senior Director of Programs, Rebecca Anderson, makes sure to get out of the house to run or walk every day. She said, “I also try to do some yoga (ok, I’ll be honest, 15-20 min only these days) a few times a week!”Image credit: ABC news

Our Project Manager, Roxana Gonzalez, is also on the exercise train. She goes on a hike at least once a week and sets fun goals for herself. Her current goal is to get Michelle Obama tank top dress arms, which we agree, is the ultimate fitness goal!

We bet you have a playlist and favorite hike/running route/neighborhood walk/dance routine that can help you remember just how good it feels to move your body for fun.


3. Establish a Yoga and/or Meditation Practice 

Our Marketing Coordinator, Anna Juszczak, does yoga and meditates in the morning! When asked what reduces her stress, she said, “A 15 min sun salutation improves my attitude and focus.” If you’re in need of 15 minutes of calm, stream one of her favorite YouTube videos.

(For pregnant or new moms, our Chief Operation Officer, Amy Kim, recommends checking out Moms at Om: a pregnancy yoga center.)

4. Spend Quality Time with your Pets

Our Director of Development, Shivani Chatterjee, reduces her stress by going on a daily walk with her dog! She says it makes a tremendous difference in how she feels.

5. Breathing Exercises 

Our Software Developer, Mike Larsson, uses a breathing technique called “box breathing” to relieve stress. He finds it extra useful because it can be done anywhere and it’s easy to remember.

These are difficult times. Be kind to yourself, and remember that you are not the only one that feels the stress. We hope that these techniques help you through a difficult moment and bring some much-deserved calm.