I think everyone can agree that our current situation has put everyone in a state of chronic mental/emotional stress. News stations are doing what they do, reporting on what is evolving with the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media then contributes with the rapid spread of misinformation, further fueling the anxiety. And it’s perfectly natural to worry at least a little bit about “what’s next?”
Acute Stress vs Chronic Stress
When put into a threatening situation, the body reacts with extreme efficiency! Regular cell maintenance along with digestive, reproductive, and immune activity are put on hold in an effort to divert all energy towards survival. The surge of hormones and physiological response can be extremely helpful during isolated times of stress, but if left elevated can also be extremely destructive, putting the body into a catabolic (wasting) state.
We are not designed to deal with stress on a constant basis. We are wired to handle an acute stress episode, then return to normal for an extended time, until the next acute stressor surfaces.
What Can You Do?
Learn and practice relaxation techniques. BREATHE, (read about the 4-7-8 method); try diffusing essential oils that promote relaxation (we offer a few custom blends, as well as the popular French Lavender – available in-office only), meditate, try yoga, read a book or listen to soft music.
Get enough sleep. Adults need 7-8 hours of restorative sleep each night to sufficiently repair at the cellular level and keep the immune system strong. Try to stay on a regular schedule and go to bed by 10 pm. Each hour of sleep prior to midnight counts as two hours after midnight. If you need some occasional help getting to (or staying) asleep, our most popular choices are UltraDream and UltraCell (both are also available in-office, and the UltraCell is discounted over 15% when purchased in-office). We also offer a variety of natural sleep supplements in our online supplement store (look under Sleep Support) and in our office.
Practice Mindfulness. Taking time out of your day to relax and check in with yourself can help reduce stress. Even 5 minutes every hour to stop working and just be mindful of yourself, your body, and your thoughts can promote relaxation. Maybe take a break from social media if you find yourself getting too anxious, especially right before bed.
Avoid negative coping patterns. These would include: alcohol, cigarettes, overeating, too much TV, overspending…those bad habits that we think will make us feel better. We will be more specific with nutrition strategies in another upcoming email, so stay tuned.
Exercise appropriately. Regular movement is good and necessary for a strong and healthy body. But, have you heard that too much of a good thing can become a bad thing? Exercise is a great tool for relieving stress when done appropriately, but it is also a stressor to your body. Over-training can be harmful to your body physically as well as contributing to weakening the immune system. Consider what one would do if training for a race…you dial it back just tad right before the event. If you’re sick, REST and don’t do anything more strenuous than walking to allow your body to heal efficiently.
Sweat it out. Every day if you can…extra points if you have your own sauna.
Support your adrenals. Adrenal dysfunction due to chronic stress is more common than perhaps you thought. There are a variety of supplements available to support the stress response in your body, and our products have an ingredient called rhodiola, which has been shown to exert antiviral activity in research. Your best bet is to consult with a health care practitioner that is familiar with the various phases of dysfunction and which adaptogens work best. Our medical providers have the education and experience to help patients navigate this sometimes tricky issue. You may schedule a consultation (or call 513.770.0787) at any time to discuss this further, and during this time we will be offering some of our services via telephone consultations.
The statements made regarding these products/treatments have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products/treatments are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The Federal Food, Drugs and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.