Stress Management & COVID-19
I am reaching out this month to provide some support, love, and shed some of the heaviness that we all may be experiencing. As we all know and are feeling, the stress from this current situation is very real. All the emotions, as well as the physical feelings, are not only valid but they are inevitable. I don’t know about you but the second I sneeze I think that it is more serious than it probably is. That level of stress is not healthy nor helpful. So, I hope to shed some light on how to alleviate some of that added stress.
In today’s world where we have access to news around the clock, through social media, as well as other sources, we get bombarded all day with the state of the world around us. We get inundated with flashy headlines, horrific stories, and we begin to worry about our families and friends. So how do we avoid getting overwhelmed and stressed out? How do we feel ok when there is all this uncertainty surrounding us? The truth is we cannot totally avoid this. It is natural that we get overwhelmed and feel emotional. The point is to let those emotions out. Feel them. Allow them to flow freely. However, the difference is to not allow them to take control or let them rule our decisions or our lives. We can turn to other means to help mitigate and keep ourselves in check. We can turn inward and do some helpful and supportive activities when we start to feel overwhelmed. We can turn to herbs for stress relief and prevention. So, what are some of these practices and herbs? Meditation: When I say meditation that can feel overwhelming to some people and I want to clarify. I don’t mean you have to sit with your legs folded for an hour without moving. I simply mean finding a few moments for yourself. Just 5-10 minutes alone where you can close your eyes and repeat a helpful mantra. (I realize that if you have children this can be very difficult, but ask your significant other for help, or they can sit quietly in the room with you for as long as they can.)
The mantra can be anything you want it to be something like; “I am alive, I am breathing, I am healthy, I am grateful” can be powerful. This tapping into our own bodies, being present, not thinking about what could happen, is one of the best healing practices. Herbal Remedies: Herbal Steams: Some simple kitchen herbs can be extremely helpful, and you most likely have them on hand! Add ginger, garlic, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and cinnamon to a pot of water, cover, and bring it to a boil. Remove the pot from heat and put a large towel over your head. Remove the lid and breathe the steam in deeply. Alternate breathing through your mouth and through the nose. This practice is extremely relaxing, as well as healing to your lungs and respiratory system. The heat and steam from the herbs will make direct contact with the mucus membranes and kill any pathogens that may be trying to take up residence there. Teas/Infusions: Boxed teas (that are anti-stress or immune-supportive) or making a mixture of your own herbs that contain antivirals, anti-microbials, and immune-enhancing constituents can all be extremely supportive during this time.
Here is a list of some herbs: Inula helenium: (Elecampane) Helps support lung function relieves dry cough. Gingiber officinale: (Ginger root) Fresh ginger is extremely antiviral and warming. Sambucus nigra: (Elderberry & Flower) Elderberry has components that are anti-viral, and the flowers are helpful for stuck nonproductive cough. Ganoderma lucidium: (Reishi mushroom) Reishi, (and other medicinal mushrooms) has renowned properties that are anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive. Cinnamomum verum: (Cinnamon sticks) Cinnamon has very helpful antiviral qualities and is also demulcent or emollient to help soothe sore throats or dry coughs. Matricaria recutita: (Chamomile) Chamomile is extremely relaxing and has a wonderful effect on the central nervous system. Avena sativa: (Milky oat tops, oatstraw) Oats are one of the best nervine relaxant herbs. Meaning it has a direct effect on the central nervous system to help us calm down and reduce stress. Creativity: Doing some writing, drawing, painting, or any other creative activity can be really stress-relieving. Any activity where you are engaging your parasympathetic nervous system to be distracted from the current state of things. These are all just some hopefully helpful tips for things to do or try while you are at home these next few weeks. I hope they are helpful and let me know if you have any questions!