During these uncertain times, we all are experiencing a change in our “normal” routines and plans. As we navigate through the fear and additional obstacles that we’re facing globally and locally, whether that’s finding a sitter while the kids are at home due to school closures, finding ways to feed our families with budget cuts and job loss, or wondering where we’ll find the next pack of paper products, we are all under a great deal of stress.
Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life and usually short-lived, but for 40 million Americans, it’s a daily battle. Whether it’s anxiety due to biological, psychosocial, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the treatment options usually include behavioral therapy, counseling, and various prescription medications that block and limit overdrive in different areas of the brain.
And with the current status of increased stress over the coronavirus, we all could use a few good tips to unwind and promote mental health:
Take Time for Yourself
It might be difficult, but carving out time to relax, take a bath, take a walk or simply shut yourself in a separate room for 10 minutes to do deep breathing exercises can reduce anxiety significantly and over time, you will most likely notice that these personal care methods will help you to become calmer throughout the day.
Most people can benefit from taking a brisk 30-minute walk. Exercise increases circulation reduces stress and also improves nutrient and oxygen-rich blood flow, and helps you build strength. If you can work out harder, it’s extremely beneficial to get your heart rate up daily with cardiovascular exercise.
Yoga helps to improve flexibility, blood flow, muscle strength, posture, immune function, bone health, decreases depressive episodes, and can regulate blood pressure. Meditation also reduces stress, reduces anxiety, promotes emotional wellbeing, can help fight addictions, can generate health and improve immune function, and it can stave off memory disorders and increase neuronal plasticity.
The body produces cytokines, which are protective proteins that block infection and inflammation. When a person gets the recommended, uninterrupted seven to nine hours of sleep, cytokines are produced. Without quality sleep, they are significantly less. Avoid Blue light. Blue light is a significant cause of circadian rhythm interruptions. Blue light emits wavelengths that contribute to sleep disturbances. Blue light comes from artificial lighting and electronics like fluorescent and LED lightbulbs, laptops, mobile phones, iPad, television, some alarm clocks, fiber-optic cable boxes, and other devices that use blue light. The issue is that blue light makes your brain think that it’s still daytime, which makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Blue light disrupts the circadian rhythm and natural sleep cycles, specifically, the delta and beta wavelengths, leading to increased activity in the brain, less relaxation and exacerbates stress and anxiety.
Combining Methods is Best
In order to overcome stress, we need a well-rounded treatment protocol that incorporates, medication (if necessary), stress management, nutrition, high-quality sleep, exercise, meditation, hormone balancing and other therapies that can help to stabilize our systems.
During these trying times, it’s important to come together and support each other.
When to Seek Help
If your stress or anxiety are lingering, you should take steps to get treatment. Stress can show itself both physically and mentally. If you feel persistently sad, anxious, or on edge; you start having unexplained physical problems; you’re unable to sleep; feel irritable all the time; or just feel overwhelmed, it may be time to seek help. New Vista provides telehealth services call our 24-Hour Helpline 1.800.928.8000 to get started.