Most experts agree unfortunately that COVID-19 is here to stay in some form. We know that the most effective way to prevent illness from the coronavirus is to be vaccinated. However, not all people can or are willing to get vaccinated. The next best defense against the Coronavirus and other viruses is to be healthy. So, let’s explore some ways to get healthy so if we contract the virus, we can fight it off effectively and easily.
This last year has been stressful for all of us because of COVID-19 and the changes in our life due to the pandemic. Add to that the day-to-day stresses of work, financial challenges, and family issues things can seem overwhelming at times. Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. Seventy percent of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily. Kerri-Ann Jennings MS, RD offers some great thoughts and simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety.
1. Exercise: Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones such as cortisol. It also helps release endorphins which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers. When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental well-being. Exercise can also improve your sleep quality.
2. Consider supplements: Lemon balm, Green tea, Valerian root, Kava kava are just some herbs that help decrease stress. You may want to consult with Dr. McQuinn to discuss supplements to reduce stress, some supplements can interact with medications or have side effects.
3. Light a candle: Using scents to treat your mood is called aromatherapy. Several studies can decrease anxiety and improve sleep.
4. Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks. High doses can increase anxiety. Many studies show caffeine is healthy, but limit it to 400mg a day.
5. Journaling: One way to handle stress is to write it down in a journal. Keeping a journal can help relieve stress and anxiety, especially if you focus on the positive.
6. Chewing gum: For a super easy and quick stress reliever, try chewing gum. Chewing gum causes brain waves similar to those of relaxed people. It also promotes blood flow to your brain.
7. Be social: Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety and stress. Studies show that people who have more social connections are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
8. Laugh! Find humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.
9. Get to it! Learn to avoid procrastination. Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
10. Take a yoga class. Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups. Research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may be as effective as antidepressant medications in treating depression and anxiety.
11. Learn to say no. Take control over the parts of your life that you can change and are causing you stress. This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, as juggling many responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
12. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment. A study showed that mindfulness may help increase self-esteem, which in turn lessons symptoms of anxiety and depression.
13. Cuddle. Cuddling, kissing, hugging and sex can all help relieve stress.
14. Listen to soothing music. Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Native American music has been shown to be particularly soothing!
15. Deep breathing. Deep breathing activates the relaxation response. Multiple methods can help you learn how to deep breath which helps slow your heart rate, allowing you to feel more peaceful.
16. Spend time with your pet. Having a pet may help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active, and providing companionship. All qualities that help reduce anxiety. Although stress and anxiety may arise in your workplace and personal life, there are many simple ways to reduce the pressure you feel. These tips often involve getting your mind away from the source of stress. Exercise, mindfulness, music, and physical intimacy can all work to relieve anxiety, and they will improve your overall work-life balance as well. Don’t try to incorporate all these suggestions at once. Work at introducing 1-2 a month and at the end of a year hopefully you will feel less stress and be a happier healthier person.