No doubt, our current “pandemic crisis” has many people living with fear and worry about the future,
whether it be about the economy, financial concerns or the virus itself.
This constant level of stress and anxiety can leave you exhausted and immunocompromised.
So when we let stress, fear and anxiety take over and get the best of us, this can lead to a weakened immune system. The exact thing we do not want right now.
If you are someone who has long suffered with stress, anxiety and depression, you are likely to be that person who finds themselves always sick and easily picking up that cold, flu or virus your child brings home from school or anyone you come in contact with who is sick.
We have all heard of the saying ‘stress kills you’
So while a little bit of stress, is good for us, too much stress that is persistent, can be detrimental to health. There is some truth behind this and this is because long term ongoing stress, can impact not only your nervous system, but your immune system, your gut and hormones and virtually every organ in your body . All of which are very important to keeping healthy and well.
The good news is, you can change the way you think and react to things. You can turn those negative thought patterns into positive ones, if you allows yourself too. The first step is to focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t. There is no point in wasting all your energy on focusing on what we can’t control as its not going to do you or your health any favours.
So what can you control to combat your fear and anxiety?
Recognise how you feel and what worsens your anxiety, meet yourself where you are at but be kind to yourself
Knowing that it is okay to feel the way you do right now. With all that is going on in life at the moment, with so much pressure and negativity in the media surrounding this worldwide pandemic, not knowing where life is heading in the future, if you will have the finances to support your family, your children’s education, and how you can possibly juggle working from home while also homeschooling and meeting your families demands all at the same time. Or maybe you are finding the uncertainty of it all, is the hardest.
Its perfectly normal to feel like this, know that you are not alone. Its a frightening time whether you are worried about the economy, finances or the virus itself or just the pure uncertainty of it all. When things are not going good, it can be a natural human reaction to move into a state of overwhelm, panic and negativity.
Meeting yourself where your at, is about understanding where you are at, why you are feeling a certain way, while being kind to yourself. Recognise what causes your anxiety, know that while some things we cannot control right now, place your energy on what you can control.
Reduce the amount of time spent with any negative people who makes you feel anxious and stressed.
They say you are like the 5 people you spend most of your time with. These people influence how we think and can both negatively or positively affect our mental wellbeing. Surrounding yourself around calm, stable, positive people, is going to have a much more positive impact on your mental wellbeing.
Practising gratitude and journaling your feelings.
People who practise daily gratitude tend to be happier. Choosing to focus on positives, even on the bad days, can promote an instant state of calm. It can take practise, as human beings we have all naturally been programmed to focus more on the negative, but you are capable of reprogramming the way your mind thinks. Studies show that just 30 days of practising gratitude can make you more happier.
Getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper can make you feel so much better to actually see them.
Do you use a journal to write down your thoughts?
Eating foods that nourish our good gut bacteria and limit intake of sugar and processed foods.
Our gut is the key to overall health. In recent years more and more evidence is available showing the link between the gut and the brain.
This is why diet is so important when it comes to mental wellbeing.
Eating a diet that is diverse containing a variety of different wholefoods, especially fruits and vegetables is key to encouraging the growth of good gut bacteria.
Its important that we mix things up and not just eat the exact same foods all the time, as this will only encourage limited bacterial species. Go to your farmers market and pick up a different veg you may not find in your supermarket, try a different variety of your favourite veggie. Go for purple cauliflower over white for a change or purple sweet potato over orange.
Include lots of prebiotic and probiotic foods. Prebiotics are the food for the bacteria and include asparagus, garlic, onion, artichokes, dandelion greens, leeks, berries, bananas, oats, pulses. Probiotics are the live beneficial bacteria and they can be found in apple cider vinegar, kombucha, miso, saukraut, kimchi, fermented pickled vegetables, sourdough bread and yoghurt.
Limit the amount of added, refined sugars and processed foods you consume as these promote the overgrowth of bad bacteria living in our guts.
Check labels for added sugars and look out for hidden names that are actually just sugar. Sugar may be labelled as glucose, dextrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, barley malt, caramel, just to name a few.
If you need more help with better understanding food labels, I offer an amazing supermarket tour service that will have you confident in making healthy food choices in no time. For more details check it out >> Savvy Supermarket Tour
Address Nutrient deficiencies through diet and supplementation
Nutrient deficiencies are so often missed, yet having nutrient deficiencies present can have a negative impact on not just our mental state but our overall health state.
Some of the most common nutrient deficiencies relating to mental health include B vitamins-B6, folate, B12, magnesium, vitamin D, Zinc, Amino acids- SAMe, Tryptophan, taurine etc.
This does not mean you should necessarily go out and self diagnose. Getting your general bloods tested, can tell us so much about one’s health. I always get my patients to bring in a copy at minimum of their general bloods to their consult for review. If you would like to book in to have your blood tests professionally reviewed by a nutritionist, I invite you to book a free discovery call to find out more about this service.
Regular exercise and physical activity
Regular exercising in particular aerobic exercises where you work up a sweat can positively change ones mood. Exercise increases heart rate which helps increase production of serotonin, GABA and the endocannabinoids, These are all important neurotransmitters in helping to control anxiety and regulating moods.
Combining going for a walk or a run with nature and fresh air can be doubly beneficial for mental wellbeing.
Getting out in nature as much as possible
Research shows time and time again that immersing yourself among the trees, in the forest and near the the ocean, can have a very peaceful calming effect on the mind. So if you are feeling down or a bit anxious, take a break and get outside, breath in the fresh air and soak up some vitamin D.
Include meditation and other breathing techniques into your day
Meditation teaches us to be present in the present moment, it allows our body and mind to slow down and can have a positive effect on our mental health. Just as little as 10 minutes a day can have a profound effect on ones health.
Have you tried meditation?
It can take a bit of practise when you first get started, but with practise you will see the benefits. My recommended guided meditation app is Lets Meditate on google play. Youtube will also have some great free guided meditations.
Getting enough quality sleep
As a lack of sleep is known to affect mood, this may make feelings of anxiety, fear and overwhelm worse.
Getting enough sleep involves going to bed at a decent hour. The better quality sleep generally tends to occur earlier in the night . The later you go to bed, the poorer quality the sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours a sleep a night.
Some sleep hygiene tips that may help improve your sleep are:
Make time for Self Care and doing something you enjoy
Are you taking time out in your day for self care?
Its important that we dedicate a small amount of time in our busy day to actually do something we enjoy and will support our mental, physical and/or spiritual wellbeing.
Even just as little as 10-15 minutes a day to read a book, journal, practise some yoga, go for a walk, have a bath, whatever it is that brings you joy, can make a huge difference to your mental wellbeing.
Restricting the amount of consumption of news and social media you are viewing
Right now with covid, all we hear when we switch on the tv, look on our social, on our google notifications is more covid cases, more fear, its enough to make anyone feel anxiety and overwhelm with all the negativity surrounding whats going on in the world at the moment. I suggest you limit your consumption as its not going to do your mental health any good. Limit checking news reports to once a day and avoid your consumption before you go to bed.
Maintaining connections and support
Its important that we maintain healthy connections. Surround yourself with positive people, not people who make you feel more anxious after being around them or having a conversation with them. Feeling anxious, overwhelmed and not coping, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
When we shift our energy away from what we can’t control and focus more on what we can control, we better support our mental wellbeing, which in turn will have a positive impact on our overall health.
If you are still suffering from feelings of anxiety and you feel you are in danger, its important that you reach out to any of the below services:
Anxiety, fear and overwhelm can be a daily struggle, yet with the right foundations in place, it is possible to take full control of your emotions. From a nutritional perspective, when our gut is healthy, hormonal imbalances are rectified and nutritional deficiencies are addressed, a state of mental wellbeing can be achieved.
Could your gut health, correcting hormonal imbalances and nutritional deficiencies be the answer to better controlling your resilience to stress, anxiety and overwhelm?
For more info, lets chat. I invite you to book a complimentary discovery call today.
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Here’s to good health and happiness x