Everyone is subject to stress—especially now, with a pandemic underway. As if the health and safety of you and yours weren’t enough to worry about, add the crippling economy, record-setting unemployment rate, quarantine lockdown, and social distance restrictions to the mix. The mounting anxiety is palpable, and experts still aren’t sure to what extent the coronavirus will impair people’s mental health, in addition to their physical well-being.
Maybe you’re out of work and stressed about finances, or working from home with a frustrating setup; you could be lonely, missing your friends’ comedic relief that kept you sane, or you could be quarantining in a full house, dying for a little personal time. The fact of the matter is that we’re all on different ships but sailing the same sea—and the waters are very stressful.
COVID-19 poses a serious threat to your immune system, but chronic stress can also damage your health. It can be easy to wash away the worries or numb yourself with Netflix while vegging out on the couch. These are unhealthy, habit-forming band-aids that won’t do you any good in the long run. Instead, check out these safe and natural stress remedies to relax during these uncertain times.
CBD Relieves Anxiety and Reduces Stress
Many people are familiar with marijuana and have their own personal opinion about this psychedelic plant—either good or bad—but less are aware of the new science that supports the benefits of CBD, a non-psychoactive extract that’s legal in most U.S. states even if recreational marijuana is not.
Whereas THC can lead to dependency problems and cause you to feel impaired, CBD offers the same healing powers, minus the risk. Among eased pain and elevated mood, another way CBD soothes the senses in by reducing your body’s production of cortisol (the stress hormone), which can compromise the cardiovascular system in too large of quantities. By taking CBD pills for anxiety, you can alleviate the physical symptoms of stress without feeling physically inebriated from THC.
Exercise Releases Endorphins
If you’ve ever heard about a “runner’s high”, then you know what we mean. At the end of a long race, athletes feel elated, overjoyed, and sometimes overcome with tears of happiness because their endorphins are flowing so freely—but you don’t need to be an elite competitor to achieve the same sensation and relieve stress with exercise.
Even with light exercise at home, you can get your heart rate pumping and produce more of the brain’s happiness chemicals: serotonin and dopamine. If you’re a little out of shape, working out might be uncomfortable and challenging at first, but there are many different workout programs that can help you find inner peace amidst this chaotic world, allowing you to find the right activities tailored to your athleticism.
Yoga, for example, is very low impact and great for beginners; all you need is a yoga mat and an open mind in order to follow practice instructions online or in a studio. On the other end of the spectrum are HIIT workouts that allow you to explosively release pent up frustration, but they’re much more intense and demanding. Find whatever works for you and your body.
Meditation Supports Mental Health
Another reason we mentioned yoga and its affect on stress is because each class offers a guided meditation as you connect exercise with breathwork, and meditation offers tremendous benefits for treating stress.
The key to meditating is all about separating yourself from your thoughts, and the best way to do it is to sit down with your eyes closed for five, 10, or 20 minutes while focusing on your breath. Don’t get us wrong—it’s not easy work. It takes a ton of practice to train your constantly chattering mind to quiet itself down. But by learning to focus solely on your body, you’ll start to realize that thoughts are emotions living outside of you.
People who meditate regularly are less affected by stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts that often present themselves; they may recognize and acknowledge these feelings, but see them more as a cloud passing by in the sky than an uncontrollable urge controlling their mood.
What are your strategies for stress management? Share what works best in the comments below.