You have to take responsibility for that peace that lives inside of your heart. – TD Jakes

The Reality of 2020

Back in the day, raising and homeschooling 4 children and running a family-based business was extremely demanding; although not nearly as challenging and stressful as living life in the reality of 2020.

As you can imagine, my days were always full and reasonably hectic so I’m sure it comes as no surprise to hear that my favorite time in the day was nighttime.

Nighttime meant winding down. The kids knew right around 7 pm that it was time for their baths, the long-awaited story hour, followed by prayer time and then lights out.

Crisis Kit

I have created this anti-anxiety and anti-stress tool kit, proven by science, to help you reduce anxiety and stress. I guarantee you that if you implement some of these ideas and use these tools; you will navigate this uncertainty boat like a highly skilled Captain.

It was probably the first time all day that I could actually hear stillness and I savored that peaceful moment as if I had just found the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

What are you doing during these uncertain times to reduce stress and create peaceful moments; to find a little pot of gold at the end of a tumultuous storm that left you a beautiful rainbow?


In today’s blog post, I am going to share some tips and tools based on science to help you create a sense of peace and more efficiently manage stress during the reality of 2020 that we are living in.

Although everyone’s 2020 story is different, the majority of people are experiencing varying degrees of anxiety, restlessness, and depression.

Psychologists are reporting looming mental health issues due to lockdowns and the fear of living in the days of a pandemic, social unrest, isolation, widespread unemployment, and uncertainty of who to trust.

People are feeling riveted and captured by fear; sadly, many feel hopeless.

This weighs heavily on my heart. That is why I am compelled to share some positive things you can do to take charge of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being; my goal is to inspire hope.

Science-Based Tools and Tips to Cultivate Peace

Be Intentional

Peace, in the midst of chaos, will not come to those who do not intentionally create an environment for it to grow. Most of us get it reversed; we look for our circumstances to give us peace rather than creating an environment that fosters it.

What can you do to ensure you are making health a priority?

Let’s look at what the research in science proves works effectively.


Those of you who know my story, know that I have overcome numerous chronic health issues; one even life-threatening.

I have had Epstein Barr Syndrome, Lyme disease, pneumonia, Valley Fever, clinical depression, and yes, I was even intubated in 2001; it saved my life.

Being so close to death, I thank God every single day that I am alive and that I am able to encourage others.

Today, I want to share a few of the things I learned on my journey to health.

The first weapon in my health arsenal that I guard like a sentinel is my sleep.

When I say guard, I mean GUARD; I protect my sleep as if my life depends on it; because I know it does.

My evening routine is paramount to protecting my sleep.

  • How many hours of sleep do you get nightly?
  • What does your evening routine look like?
  • Do you even have an evening routine to help prepare you for a good night’s sleep?

The purpose of having a routine is to help you wind down and get ready for a restful night’s sleep.  You can use this time to deregulate and decompress your thoughts and stressors from the day. This will enhance your mind-body connection and create an environment to help you get to sleep more easily.

 “Sleep is your secret weapon.” Brandon Webb

Live in the Moment

The second weapon I use to guard my health and reduce stress is to live fully alive TODAY and not jump into the future where catastrophe lives.

Living life in the present is a valuable skill – one that when honed can become a powerful, life-changing habit.

It is especially needed right now; during the reality of 2020 where many people report feeling  like a spider-web of fear has permeated almost every domain of their life.

When you live life in the present, you stop projecting your fears into the future. This is in contrast to what happens when we project into the future with an extreme focus on managing and trying to control the negative; rather than creating a state of flow and experiencing the positive.

“Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm.”  – Unknown

When you experience the present moment, you stop overthinking; you silence the incessant inner voices that play in your head; you turn down your inner chatter.

Mindfulness reveals the powerful truth that being fully present right now is all that matters.

Calming Down your Stress Hormones

As I mentioned before, I’ve learned the hard way what it feels like to experience constant anxiety; to carry low levels of apprehension and nervousness in my mind and body.

Once I learned how to control not only my thoughts but also my stress hormones, the stress and anxiety lifted.

The third weapon I use to calm down both mind and body are relaxation techniques. The ones listed are proven by science to work with the biochemistry of your body to quiet the inner chaos and cultivate a state of peace.


There is no doubt that our current situation is causing escalating stress levels; fear, worry, anxiety. When we don’t feel we have control over our situation, we can certainly take steps to control what we can control; our thoughts and our breathing.

According to James Nestor, author of the New York Times bestseller, Breathe: The New Science of a Lost Art, there is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing.

Perhaps another gift that has come out of Covid19 is learning how important breath is. The breathing research and studies that Nestor was involved in showed that breathing can impact sleep and resilience; which helps combat stress.

The study’s findings showed that people who experienced anxiety or had fear-based conditions breathe too quickly and too shallow; putting themselves in a state of stress.

On the flip side of the coin, breathing slowly and deeply elicits the relaxation response and helps calm you down. The reason for this is as your diaphragm lowers, you are allowing more air into your lungs and your body immediately switches to a relaxed state.

You can find more of his research here:

Tempo Breathing

As most of you know, I highly recommend tempo breathing, endorsed by the heroic US Navy SEALs. For them, it is a time-honored technique to promote calm, focus, and in some cases to keep them alive.

How to practice tempo or boxed breathing:

  • Sit or lay down and relax your muscles
  • Take a deep breath in for the count of 2
  • Hold the breath for the count of 4
  • Exhale for the count of 6
  • Repeat

To be highly effective against anxiety, I recommend that you practice this exercise daily. It will help keep you grounded, calm, and focused. However, it is especially useful to do before and after stressful events.


A fourth weapon I use to combat stress and anxiety is prayer and meditation. There is substantial evidence to show that prayer and meditation engage the deeper parts of the brain which are involved in self-reflection.

According to Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, a marriage and family therapist, when people sit down to engage in prayer or meditation, they shift away from a frightened stressful survival mode to an “intentional” state where they can reenergize their pre-frontal cortex which is the part of the brain that rules their executive functioning and enables them to make intelligent, mindful decisions.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique

The fifth and last weapon I use to help cultivate peace and reduce anxiety is the progressive muscle relaxation technique.

This relaxation technique is a powerful method to help relieve tension, stress, and anxiety.

How to:

Experts in the fields of stress management recommend that you set time aside when you won’t be interrupted. Mentally, categorize your muscles into groups. For example:

  • Feet
  • Legs
  • Glutes
  • Torso
  • Head

Lie on the floor and start with one muscle group at a time and progress in order. I prefer to go from the bottom up: feet to head.

As you breathe in, tense your first muscle group and hold a second. Breathe out and at the same time quickly and completely relax the muscle group.

Relax for 10-20 seconds before you go to the next muscle group.

Here is a link to the technique if you’d like further clarity.

All Things for the Good

If you are feeling adversity, don’t be discouraged.  I often wondered why I had to go through so many of the hardships and health issues I experienced. I no longer wonder; I know why. God allowed those things in my life so that I can help and encourage others. He used all those things for my good.

Because of my experiences, I’m able to share strategies with you. If you are experiencing stress, hopefully, you’ll use some of these tools to help you get out of a constricting survivor mode and into a calm and peaceful flow.

Keep your focus.
Don’t give up hope.
Always believe.

Make it a courageous day!


Crisis Kit

I have created this anti-anxiety and anti-stress tool kit, proven by science, to help you reduce anxiety and stress. I guarantee you that if you implement some of these ideas and use these tools; you will navigate this uncertainty boat like a highly skilled Captain.

Rita Hudgens
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