Stress is inevitable, so let’s learn how to manage it
The pandemic has become synonymous with the phrase “we are living in unprecedented times.” People around the world have been forced to adapt to this new reality, so there is much uncertainty ahead. Such unpredictability leads to increased stress and tension which can cause anxiety, depression, and a general feeling of unwellness.
You may say to yourself, “Stress is a part of every life.” Yes it is, but there is a level of stress that is unhealthy and that is the type of stress that results in sickness.
Some symptoms of stress include fatigue, increase or loss of appetite, headaches, and insomnia. When stress becomes overwhelming, it can also create anxiety, mental gloominess, lack of concentration, hopelessness, and even suicidal thoughts.
So it’s important to pay attention to the signs and take proactive measures to minimize or manage our stress level.
Research has shown that exercise releases endorphins or happy feelings. Adopting an active lifestyle could be a big mood booster. It is an avenue to release the tension built up in our bodies.
According to the article Working Out to Relieve Stress posted by the American Heart Association, “regular physical activity can improve quality of life and relieve stress, tension, anxiety and depression. You may notice a ‘feel good’ sensation immediately following your workout and also see an improvement in overall well-being over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of your life.’’
Massage is another way to release the tension in our muscles. It loosens the stiffness or tightness from everyday activities and leaves you in a relaxed state. Have you ever noticed the relaxing atmosphere at a spa with soothing music and essential oils? These are simple but practical ways to relax the mind.
Or, have a nice bath. Simply add epsom salt to the water, turn on your favourite music, and add a scented candle or diffuser. That could be the magic you need after a hectic day.
A nutritious diet with vitamins and minerals is necessary for maintaining a healthy mind and body. Omega is good for your brain and can help to reduce the negative effects of stress on your mental health. A lack of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet may cause neurological problems.
Stress depletes magnesium in the body, which is very important for neurological functions. According to the article Why do we need magnesium? posted by Medical News Today, “magnesium is an important mineral, playing a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the human body. Its many functions include helping with muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure, and supporting the immune system.”
And, in The relationship between stress and magnesium deficiency article published by Health First Network, “Magnesium is known as the anti-stress mineral. But the relationship between magnesium and stress works in two directions: stress depletes magnesium, but magnesium counteracts stress. Any stress, whether mental or physical, will deplete magnesium from the body. The body uses up magnesium stores in reacting to stress and a body without enough magnesium will exhibit more symptoms of stress.”
Good sources of magnesium include kale, spinach, beans, and nuts. You could also take a supplement. Magnesium, zinc, and calcium work well together. As well, add some vitamin D, especially in the winter when there may not be enough sunshine.
With physical distancing requirements, connecting to others is difficult, but you can still take advantage of video conference technology to reduce stress, loneliness, and isolation. This is also a good time to do journaling or develop new skills.