During this difficult time, our planet has drastically changed in just a matter of a few months/our country just a few weeks. We have felt the effects physically, socially, emotionally and economically. A rapid unforeseen tragedy that is devastating to people in so many ways.
My heart goes out to the thousands of families across the world that have lost loved ones from this pandemic. And I also feel saddened by countless small business owners that have had to close their doors permanently as they were unable to recover from this pandemic’s effects.
Social events, business trips, vacations, weddings, celebratory gatherings with family and friends are getting canceled. It’s truly crushing. There’s heightened feelings of:
Fear & Anxiety
Sadness & Depression
Overwhelm & Overburden
Confusion & Uncertainty
Scarcity & Insecurity
Hopelessness & Despair
Isolation & Loneliness
Whatever you are feeling, you are definitely not alone. What these feelings stimulate is that fight or flight response that we all know too well – STRESS. Stress leads to a deluge of cortisol and other hormones that permeate the body and cause adverse symptoms.
Physical symptoms of stress include:
Irritability & Impatience
Fatigue or trouble rebounding
Hormonal imbalances & symptoms
And much more
Combine stress with social distancing and “stay at home as much as possible,” cabin fever “get me out of here!” and perhaps “too close for comfort” interactions with others and guess what happens? We feel more stress! We eat, we are less active, (COVID-19 pandemic weight gain is becoming common), we might turn to more sugar and refined and processed foods, caffeine and alcohol, we smoke, we use more pharmaceutical or recreational drugs, we start arguing more with our family members and friends. We are uncomfortable and we want comfort now. These are completely normal and common responses!
So, what can you do to alleviate or lessen the stress response, adapt to the changes and support and strengthen your body in the meantime? Quite a bit!
1.) Move: Keep your body moving especially out in the fresh air and sunshine and around other people – from a safe distance from those you don’t know. Walking, biking, hiking, jogging, yoga, stretching, free exercise apps on your smart phone, computer, laptop, TV, YouTube and you can dig out those exercise DVD’s. Every minute (preferably 30 or more) of exercise helps support every single cell in your body, increases energy, mood, stress adaptation, fat loss and encourages immune cell production to better fight infections.
2.) Balance: Remember the 80/20 rule when it comes to food! 80% healthy, nutrient rich vegetables, fruits, lean protein and plant based fats; 20% fun “comfort” foods. Those vitamins and minerals, fiber and water within those veggies/fruits are ESSENTIAL for optimal health, stress adaptation and immune function. Moderation, moderation, moderation. Be sure to keep drinking plenty of water. People tend to skip out on water when they are feeling stressed.
3.) Resilience: Do your best to practice resilience (adaptability + growth) through these changing times. Excellent for any time really. The old adage “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” implies optimism, re-routing or pivoting and a “I got this” attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune. Truly relevant now. Keep reminding yourself that this is temporary and will pass. Life is always about cycles, right? Read this excellent article on resilience through change: https://www.insights.com/us/resources/remaining-resilient-through-change/
4.) Mind Body Medicine: This incredibly beneficial therapy focuses on enhancing and strengthening the mind’s positive impact on the body and can also affect the outcomes in your life. Such practices include meditation, prayer, cognitive behavior therapy (changing patterns of thinking or behavior around someone’s struggle/problem), visual imagery (creating and seeing events as you’d like them to occur), yoga can be a form of mind body medicine, breathe work, and even keeping a gratitude journal (writing down 3-5 daily things you are grateful for) are all very healing, calming and hopeful to the brain and therefore the body feels treated and relaxed (with less cortisol) as well.
5.) Adaptogenic Herbs: These herbs are excellent for supporting the Adrenal Glands that secrete cortisol during times of stress, overwhelm and lower energy. Some of these herbs and products help with enhancing energy, mood, focus and some help to calm and balance the body and yet still allow you to be productive. I’ve listed below are a few of my favorite products that I often recommend to my patients. All products are available on Fullscript and can be used for the current time or anytime you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions. https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/ktompkins
Ashwaganda by Ayush Herbs 1 cap 1-2x/day (more moderating and calming)
HPA Axis (Daytime Maintenance) by Gaia Herbs 2 caps 1-2x/day (more moderating and calming)
Photo-ADR by Pure Encapsulations 1 cap 1-2x/day (more uplifting and balancing)
A-Drenal by RLC Labs 1 or 2 caps 1-2x/day (more energizing and uplifting when feeling depleted)
HPA Adapt by Integrative Therapeutics 1 cap 1-2x/day (more uplifting and balancing)
I really believe that this is powerful time for great change and even greater things to evolve out of this global upheaval. Once the social distancing has been lifted, my hope is that our world can become more cohesive, connected and more community centered rather than self centered.
Please stay healthy, safe and strong, Dr. Kristi
P.S. TeleMedicine Appointments via Videoconference or Phone are available. To schedule, please visit – www.doctorkristi.comand click on “Schedule an Appointment.”
For Videoconference appointments, please download the Zoom software –https://zoom.us/download (click “Zoom Client for Meetings”) in advance of your scheduled appointment.