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The Importance of Practicing Self-Care During Stressful Times

 Self-care during a pandemic

This past year has been a challenging one for all of us. Not only have we had to change how we live, work and socialize, our health has come to the forefront as the result of this pandemic.

Stress comes in all forms and how we deal with stress most definitely impacts our health status. For some it can manifest as anxiety or depression, for others it can play out on the more physical level such as skin and digestive reactions.

It is under these more stressful times that we often begin to neglect our health.  We begin to ignore body cues to relax or rest and we will tend to eat foods we know we shouldn’t or drink (or in excess). 

In order to manage and get through these stressors, the following is a ‘reminder’ list of what you can do to help your body adapt and recover. 

5 reminders to improve your health during stressful times 

1. Exercise

Our body produces stress hormones like adrenaline that cause our heart rate to increase and our nervous system to become heightened.  If levels of adrenaline remain in the blood stream, issues with sleep, anxiety and inability to relax and focus can occur.  Exercise helps to break down adrenaline and excrete it from the body. 

2. Sleep

Our bodies heal when we sleep, we produce hormones such as growth hormone and DHEA that encourage tissue and organ regeneration. To support sleep consider having a relaxing sleep routine to prepare yourself for good rest and avoid stimulating activities.  If sleep is a chronic issue seek medical (naturopathic) help.

3. Nutrition

Our bodies use up essential nutrients under excess stress.  Our main nutrients needed include B- vitamins, magnesium and vitamin C.  Consuming foods high in these nutrients or supplementally will certainly help.

4. Physical Relaxation

Schedule in a massage, acupuncture or yoga at least once a week.

5. Mental Support

Talking through our stresses often helps us gain clarity in how to manage as well as develop coping skills.  Seeking a good counsellor or practicing meditation are helpful ways to support our mental health.

We hope these 5 tips will help you practice self-care!

Words by: Dr. Kristen Bovee at www.hydrateiv.ca