A Year in Review: Coronavirus and Your Mental Health
A little over a year into the pandemic and many of us still feel a sense of anxiety. Odds are, you know someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19, perhaps even yourself. But beyond the physical symptoms of the virus lies the mental health crisis. Whether you’ve faced financial hardship, experienced the virus firsthand, know someone who lost their battle to COVID-19, or feel weary about the vaccine — these are all valid concerns. And how we cope with the stress is important.
According to a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, nearly 1 in 4 adults have turned to alcohol consumption as a way to manage their stress during the pandemic. 61 percent of adults have experienced undesired weight changes. 47 percent reported delaying or canceling health care services in the last year — meaning they didn’t receive the proactive care they need to stay healthy. These numbers are overwhelming, but not surprising. Here are some tips to help you regain focus on your mental health and overcome stress.
Support your adrenals
To understand how your body reacts to stress, look at your adrenals. Your adrenal glands produce stress hormones like cortisol during times of distress. If your adrenals are constantly working overtime to produce this hormone — meaning you’re under chronic stress for an extended period of time — additional symptoms may follow. To avoid triggering your cortisol levels to spike, swap any high-intensity workouts for low-impact exercises like yoga and stretching or walking. As the weather gets warmer, get outdoors for a hike or some yard work.
Manage your weight
When we’re under an immense amount of stress, we may experience unwanted fluctuations in our weight. This has to do with numerous factors, including lack of sleep and oftentimes, overeating as a result of those high cortisol levels. Instead of adding more stress to your life by trying to lose those extra pounds, shift your focus to maintaining your current weight instead. Caffeine, gluten, alcohol, saturated fats, and processed sugar can irritate the body so try introducing more anti-inflammatory foods that are high in antioxidants instead. This includes broccoli, kale, grapefruit, avocados, and cauliflower. These foods help support your adrenals and ultimately, reduce your stress. Combined with daily exercise, eating a well-balanced diet will help you stay healthy and feel your best.
Make the day yours
Masks, social distancing, and a work-from-home lifestyle may have become the norm for now, but that doesn’t mean these changes to your daily schedule will last forever. If it has been challenging to stay grounded during the pandemic, add something you look forward to into your daily routine. Consider introducing meditation to your morning or ending each day with a cup of tea. Doing so will allow you to be more intentional with your time and protect your sanity.
Ready to bring balance and vitality back into your life? Connect with us online or give us a call (901) 312-7899.