With the confinements of social distancing and fears and vulnerability regarding COVID-19, our world has been thrown out of balance.
In just a matter of a few months, we’ve needed to change our lives, work, plans, childcare, feelings, and socials.
It has been difficult, and we’ve reacted to this unforeseen time with a variety of responses.
Most of us have never confronted a pandemic before and are putting forth a valiant effort to work in this period of crisis.
Likewise, with anything new, scary, disorienting, or out of our control, it challenges us to get creative and be devoted to techniques of self-care, association, wellbeing, and mental health so that we may face these troubling times with the best of our abilities and a sound mind.
It is okay and completely human to feel anxious and depressed in these unprecedented times.
It is equally important to know that you are not alone and things will get better!
We have gathered some amazing tips and coping mechanisms to help you manage stress, anxiety, and low-mood levels during Covid-19.
So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!
A scientific literature review conducted by The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education on behalf of Dignity Health shows that a simple gesture of empathy and concern makes us feel more connected.
The review of published clinical studies examines how feelings of trust, safety, and comfort lower the body’s stress-related responses and in turn improve heart health.
Humans are social creatures, and being isolated for extended periods can be detrimental to our emotional and mental wellbeing.
So, we should try to stay connected to loved ones while we continue to practice social distancing.
Technology has bestowed us with Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, etc. So that we can virtually enjoy shared dinners, celebrations, and conversations with friends and family.
If you’re missing someone, like a grandparent, you can always find a tablet that is cheap to send to them if they don’t have access to the video.
I would look into a ” Portal ” from Facebook, it’s inexpensive and easy to use.
We can receive and provide much-needed support for loved ones and be supportive of them during these trying times.
Being helpful to others can instill a sense of purpose and meaning that leads to a better healthy mind.
We are in a unique situation where we should focus on boosting our relationships and being better connected with our loved ones.
Engage yourself in self-care activities. These times have garnered stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, so it’s critical to take good care of your emotional, mental, and physical health.
Some ideas for self-care;
● Read a gripping book
● Take a relaxing bath
● Take up hobbies like gardening or spend time in the fresh air.
● Play musical instruments
● Cook your favourite dishes
● Bake some cookies
● Listen to great music.
● Vent in your diary or start a journal. Write down things you are grateful for
● Pray and meditate
● Talk to your best friends or parents.
● Sit with your emotions.
● Register for some online help if you need to
Practice mindfulness, meditation, or prayer.
Take out time in your busy schedule or a mental break so that you can sit in silence and tune in on your current state.
This will allow your brain a moment of serenity. The severity of our situation is emotionally and mentally taxing, and it’s important to take some time apart for relief.
Physical health and a healthy diet play key roles in mental and emotional wellbeing.
Research shows that we have a higher chance of illness when we are not maintaining good physical and psychological health.
Stress and depression can lower your immunity and leave you more susceptible to disease.
There’s a strong correlation between gut health and mental health.
We recommend that you have a good intake of nutritious fruits and veggies and avoid processed sugary and less healthy foods.
We know that Weighted blankets can help reduce anxiety. They can help people who may not consider themselves anxious, yet still suffer from insomnia or sleep disturbances: A weighted blanket might provide just enough physiological calm that it helps them relax to fall asleep.
The weighted blanket I suggest is from “Hush Blankets”
Exercise is also encouraged.
It will help stimulate the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that bring on positive feelings.
Go for a jog, stroll around your neighbourhood, dance in your bedroom, or start watching fitness tutorial videos on Youtube.
We highly suggest that when you’re feeling blue, down, stressed or anxious that you move through those feelings.
Changing your physiology with movement can change your mood
You don’t have to have good dance moves… trust us!
Stay active, move, and be silly!
Whatever you ingest into your body affects your physical and mental health. So make sure you take nutrients that can help you combat anxiety and depression.
I’ve talked about the best supplements for anxiety already, so there’s more information there and the best type of each supplement
1. Add adaptogens and green tea to your everyday diet.
Adaptogens improve immunity levels and manage stress, while L-theanine in green tea helps mental clarity.
You can learn about the Onnit guide to adaptogens
1. Consider supplements
- Saffron has antidepressant properties that are related to serotonin metabolism. It increases levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. In multiple cell-based and animal studies, scientists examined the potential of saffron to improve brain health by reducing inflammation in the brain, regulating levels of neurotransmitters protecting the brain from injury, and Preventing cell death in the mind (apoptosis). It has Antioxidant activity that reduces damage to the brain.
- Vitamin D
- New research has shown that low vitamin D levels may increase the risk of dying from COVID-19. This is due to the immunity-boosting factors Vitamin D has. It also helps to brighten the mood and improve cognitive function. The lower your vitamin D levels, the more likely you are to have from sadness and blues. A long period of extensive research points to a correlation between low levels of vitamin D and mood problems, such as depression. Supplementation can help, according to a 2008 research in the Journal of Internal Medicine that tested 441 overweight and obese adults with depression for a year. In this study, the people who took vitamin D (20,000 IU or 40,000 IU per week) had reported a significant decrease in their depressive symptoms. Still, those who took a placebo did not see such an improvement. We highly suggest that you get your Vitamin D levels checked before taking doses like that
- One of the best Vitamin D supplements is from Onnit, I like it because it comes in an easy spray plus Vitamin K2
- Research has showcased how magnesium may aid brain functions that reduce stress and anxiety. It is supposed to affect a portion of the brain called the hypothalamus, which helps regulate the pituitary and adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for your stress response. If you have an anxiety disorder, you should consider incorporating magnesium into your everyday diet to help reduce your symptoms. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults is between 310 and 420 mg. To ensure you have the correct amount of magnesium in your diet, eat foods that are high in magnesium. Find out what the best magnesium is for anxiety. The best one is in our Fullscript category, it’s the Mag SRT
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin B is important for good cell health and the growth of red blood cells. Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12 help to maintain a healthy nervous system. The Mag SRT contains both B6 and B12, maybe the most important B vitamins for mental health, already in the magnesium. This is partly where stress relief comes in – a strong nervous system is essential to being able to effectively fight the symptoms of stress. It has power over your energy levels and your eyesight. It promotes healthy brain function and Good digestion.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin C is involved in numerous body functions, some of them include the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the proper functioning of the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. Boosts immunity and Protects your memory and thinking as you age.
Go for a virtual visit.
There are a lot of museum tours, aquariums, and National parks that are offering free virtual visits. You can now view places that are not local or are very far from you and spend time with your friends to engage in good discussions about art, landscape, animals, or scenery.
Have a Game Night
Enjoy a healthy dose of competition. Numerous virtual games can be played over your PC. Invest in some quality headphones and sit down with your friends for a fun night of Fortnight or Among Us.
If you’re at home with your partner, then try something more interactive, like charades or Pictionary.
You can even play chess or poker.
No matter what you decide upon, having a fun game night can help add something to the normal routine and bring some laughs into your home.
Watch a Movie Together
Netflix has grown more popular than ever. With an increasing amount of streaming devices available to us, we can easily watch our favourite movies without needing to go to theatres.
Many couples enjoy cuddling up with one another while watching their favourite movie.
With the added feature of Netflix Party, you can watch a movie with your best friends without needing to be in the same room together.
So order some food and pick out your favourite film for a nice night in.
Keep a schedule
Do your best to make sure you have a regular and consistent schedule.
It would help you maintain some normalcy and control in your life, which is especially crucial in times of uncertainty.
Try to wake at a similar time each day, shower, and change out of your night. Start your day by being positive and having a clear set of goals to go through in the day.
Limit your News Intake
Although it is important to stay well informed about the current pandemic and its treatments and progression, however, it is a stress-inducing thing.
Reading and watching COVID19 related news all the time can create and exacerbate feelings of fear and anxiety.
Try to aim for a healthy balance between staying informed and also limiting harmful exposure.
We must be hopeful at these times, so try to include positive stories of hope and recovery in your daily news intake.
Do not overload yourself with information, and pick a handful of news organizations you can trust.
Check-In with Yourself and Others
It can be good for you to take a step back and evaluate how you’re handling the stress of COVID-19 and social distancing.
Taking your partner’s opinions about whether you’re losing your cool often, raising your voice more than necessary, or generally not acting like yourself is also helpful.
Keep open and honest communication during this time as it is vital.
Everyone in your family is experiencing varying levels of stress at these times. No one is behaving as they normally would. If your child is behaving badly, try to figure out if there’s an underlying reason.
Recognize those feelings of loneliness, sadness, fear, and anxiety are very normal reactions to a stressful time like this.
You may require a time out for yourself.
Leave the room your kids are in for some minutes, give yourself some quiet time, or reach out to friends, family, or mental health professionals when you need a little extra help.
Take care of your mental health
You may experience increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.
How you respond to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic can depend on your background, your social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your health and emotional background, the community you live in, and many other factors. The changes that can happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we try to contain the spread of the virus can affect anyone. (cdc.gov)
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:
According to the CDC ” People who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (for example, older people, and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions Children and teens People caring for family members or loved ones Frontline workers such as health care providers and first responders Essential workers who work in the food industry People who have existing mental health conditions People who use substances or have a substance use disorder.“
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression with a seasonal pattern.
Symptoms of SAD are almost the same as other signs of depression.
The difference is that this kind of depression shows up during colder months of fall and winter when there are fewer hours of sunlight.
If you compound SAD with social isolation, it’s a recipe for disaster for your mental well-being.
Tips for Managing SAD
We already know that most Canadians have problems with Vitamin D, Between 70% and 97% of Canadians demonstrate vitamin D insufficiency.
As the weather gets colder and sunlight hours decrease, it’s crucial to take extra care of your mental health to avoid SAD.
In addition to professional and medical help, people struggling with SAD are encouraged to seek out methods to help manage symptoms at home.
There are a variety of ways and activities you can avail of as part of an overall treatment plan.
These include working out, socializing with loved ones, and participating in activities that were fun before depressive episodes started.
It may be a smart idea to postpone any important decisions until after you feel better.
An online discussion forum where you can offer support, encouragement, and share your experiences with managing your stress and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Access to resources, psychotherapy and psychiatric services for health care workers impacted by the stress of COVID-19.
Talk to a professional that can help identify negative thought patterns, poor coping strategies and find ways to improve self-care.
What number or who should you contact if you have stress and anxiety issues during the coronavirus pandemic
Canada has a great webpage if you need assistance with stress or your mental health
If you are being treated for SAD, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant, which can be very helpful for some.
The combo of medication and therapy has proven to be more effective in treating depression than using either of these treatments alone, according to a 2014 meta-analysis published in World Psychiatry.
Because SAD is caused due to the shorter days and decreased sunlight in the fall and winter months, light therapy can be used to help replace the lack of sunshine during those months.
Light therapy or phototherapy, as it is often called, involves daily exposure to artificial sunlight.
Seasonal changes and diminished exposure to sunlight may disrupt melatonin and serotonin levels, and fluctuations in serotonin and melatonin levels can adversely affect your sleep, mood, and overall functionality.
In these times of high negativity, allow yourself some time to focus on something positive. We must be facing a reprieve from facing this pandemic as these times are scary and overwhelming. So try to focus on something positive every day.
You could either read a funny story, or watch a comedy, or find real-life stories of recovery and hope.
Also, spend time practicing gratitude and thanking our healthcare providers, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, and many more who are working on frontlines to keep us safe and to aid us in these troubling times.
Just make time to change your mindset to one of hope and positivity, as this plays a role in how you feel.