Are you feeling more stressed as things return to normal post COVID?
I am, too. And we’re not alone. 84% of people said they are experiencing higher stress levels a year after the start of the pandemic, according to a report from the American Psychological Association.
Although this year was really challenging, I was able to take some steps to restore my inner calm by not overbooking my calendar, removing myself from social media, getting more sleep, and eating well. I found myself cooking at home more and drinking alcohol less because I wasn’t going out to eat as much. When I pulled back from the busyness of life during the pandemic, I benefited both physically and mentally. As things continue to open up, I’m reminding myself to stay in this healthy mindset.
Too much stress can take a toll on your physical and mental health, produce fear and anxiousness, create hormonal imbalances, and increase vulnerability to physical illness. Your body can even go into fight or flight mode, which can increase your risk of severe health problems.
The good news? There are proven ways to reduce stress and keep your body healthy and happy.
Exercise is so important to reduce stress and produce mood-boosting endorphins. Exercising can boost your mood by increasing beta-endorphins and BDNF, a brain growth factor, to maintain a healthy brain. I try to exercise for 30 minutes a day at least five times a week. I like to switch up my exercise routine by practicing yoga, weight training, light cardio, or even going for a long walk or bike ride.
Meditation is key to reducing stress and instilling an overall sense of calm. I like to meditate and focus on my breathing techniques to calm down quickly. Try breathing in for 8 seconds, holding for 8 seconds, and releasing for 8 seconds. I usually repeat this exercise three or four times to feel the benefits. When I take this time to meditate and take deep breaths, I can feel the difference in my stress levels for the rest of the day! I will often use various crystals like selenite while I meditate to amplify the effects.
Healthy relationships and human connections are so crucial for mental health. Although it has been harder to maintain these relationships during quarantine, I’ve found it beneficial to schedule regular facetime calls with friends and family to stay connected. I’ve noticed I’m always happy after finishing up a call with a loved one. And, there’s a scientific reason for that feeling! Your brain releases a bonding hormone called oxytocin when you feel loved. This hormone can fight stress!
I also support supplementation to curb stress and calm the mind. There are fantastic supplement formulations out there to support brain health and healthy stress responses. Here are my current favorites:
I am a huge fan of the GABA + L Theanine supplement by Quicksilver. GABA Calming Support can help manage anxiety, restlessness, and irritability. GABA can also support relaxation! GABA quotes the minds and promotes sleep by slowing the excessive firing of neurons. It is ideal for stopping racing thoughts both at night and during the day. GABA is entirely safe to take during the day because it doesn’t cause drowsiness at all!
L-Theanine can improve focus and clarity and can enhance the quality of sleep. I feel instantly relaxed when I take the GABA + L-Theanine without feeling drowsy, so I can take it during the day. It is an amino acid that is in green tea, and this natural plant substance can stabilize blood pressure, reduce tension, improve mood, and restore balance.
I could go on and on about the benefits of magnesium! Magnesium supports your memory, mood, sleep, and focus. Did you know magnesium is necessary for our cells to function? This supplement also regulates blood sugar, blood pressure and promotes a positive attitude. In addition, magnesium strengthens the immune system and promotes optimal digestion. If you have been following me for some time, you know that my #1 magnesium supplement is by Innate Response.
B-Vitamins are crucial to overall nutritional balance and nervous system and hormone regulation, but it is often difficult to maintain adequate levels using diet alone. They also play a crucial role in stress reduction. For example, vitamin B6 is essential for relaxation and a healthy mood. This vitamin is necessary for producing serotonin and melatonin. In addition, it is a crucial vitamin for early brain development and a healthy nervous system. My favorite B vitamin supplement is the Basic B-Complex from Thorne.
Always talk to your doctor before incorporating a new supplement into your diet. And if you’re interested in more tips for reducing stress, I invite you to work with me virtually one-on-one! Learn more about working with me here.