This article was created in partnership with healistnaturals.com.
Are you feeling more stressed than usual? If so, you’re absolutely not alone. While most people experience moderate stress from time to time, the recent COVID-19 outbreak is making many of us more tense than ever before. Financial and health worries, along with social distancing, are impacting our lives in profound ways, taking away the routines that normally make us feel safe and reducing our social support systems. So it’s little wonder that, according to a recent survey by Guardian Labs, 83 percent of those polled felt “stressed and/or overwhelmed” since the pandemic began back in March.
The majority of us are feeling stressed — but what does that actually mean for our bodies?
The CDC reports the following are all common reactions to stress during an infectious disease outbreak (or, really, at any time): irritability, headaches, pain anywhere in the body, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, intensified symptoms from chronic mental or physical health conditions, digestive disorders, negative changes to your eating or sleeping patterns, and an increased use of addictive substances like tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. Stress clearly has a powerful impact on the body that, left untreated, can cause serious health issues, especially over time. If chronic stress is taking a toll on your health, what should you do?
Beyond the basics — eating well, taking deep breaths, and finding time to connect with others — here are a few suggested lifestyle changes experts recommend to better manage your stress.
High-anxiety situations can increase stress hormones in the body — namely adrenaline and cortisol — which are designed to protect us from harm when we are under threat. Activating these hormones sends our bodies into fight or flight response, but, in the absence of an actual fight or flight, there’s nowhere to release them. That’s where exercise comes in: A brisk walk or run up the stairs will help you metabolize the hormones and bring your body back to a state of calm equilibrium.
Quality sleep is imperative for restoring all systems of the body. Without it, we move through our days feeling slower and mentally “off,” which can make us more vulnerable to stress. Try sticking to a sleep schedule, heading to bed at the same time each night — research on sleep has shown that a consistent bedtime is key to warding off insomnia. Shut off all electronic devices at least two hours before you head to bed and keep handheld devices away from where you sleep. Other sleep suggestions: avoid afternoon caffeine, keep the room where you sleep cool, and invest in a white noise machine if you live an area with a lot of street or building noise.
If you’re looking to help soothe your stress with a supplement, CBD may be the way to go. Though research on the non-intoxicating cannabinoid is still nascent, some scientists, like those at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), state that CBD has been shown to reduce stress in rats, lowering their behavioral and physiological signs of anxiety. To (potentially) help you with a stressed state, we like Healist’s Calm Drops and Calm Chews, which contain 20mg or 40mg of CBD per serving, along with other natural ingredients such as botanical extracts, ashwagandha, L-Theanine and a custom calming terpene blend all designed to help you cope with signs of stress and unease.* What’s more, through June, Healist will donate a portion of every order to the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact fund, created to aid non-profit services struggling with the health and economics effect of Coronavirus. They’ll also include fast, free shipping on every order. For more information on Healist Calm Drops, visit healistnaturals.com.
It might sound airy-fairy, but some experts believe that naming writing about our stress can help us see the patterns and sources of our anxiety and make us better equipped to find coping strategies that actually work. When starting a stress journal, make sure to document how you’re feeling each day, when you felt stressed, and how it felt both physically and emotionally. Extra credit if you rate your days by stress level (1-10) to get a broader sense of how you’re feeling over a longer term.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug administration. This product is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any diseases.