19 May How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
To say that a lot of people are feeling the effects of stress and anxiety at the moment would be an understatement.
Being in lockdown has been stressful enough, with either loneliness or enforced time with family causing feelings of overwhelm and anxiety for many people. However, according to an article on the BBC, the prospect of coming out of lockdown and going back to work or normal social life is also causing people a lot of worry.
Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, a charity that supports people with mental health conditions is quoted as saying, “After you’ve been inside for a long time, it can feel very strange to go outside. You perhaps lose your confidence to do things you haven’t had to in a while.”
She gives examples of going back to using packed trains or busses or attending meetings at work as things that people are likely to find stressful and worrying as we slowly begin to return to the ‘new normal’. Plus, there is the added concern about the risk of infection. “These things might have been difficult in the first place and having to return to them after having quite a sustained break might actually be very challenging,” she says.
Why we suffer from stress and anxiety
A big reason for feelings of stress is that we like to please others. Without realising, we often end up saying ‘yes’ when we’re asked to do things and discover later that inside, we aren’t really ready or able to take them on. A key part of dealing with anxiety in the long term involves being clear on your priorities, listening to your inner voice and deciding what you can and can’t do without feeling overwhelmed.
Natural ways to help avoid stress and anxiety
Here are our five top tips to help overcome feelings of stress and anxiety:
1. Get help if you need it. If your feelings of anxiety are because you’re trying to do too much too soon, see if family or colleagues could help you out, even if it’s only on a temporary basis.
For example, once the kids start going back to school, could a neighbour take them in once a week? If you’re feeling overwhelmed about going back to work after a long break, could you request flexi-time or to stay working from home for some of the week?
2. Make sure you eat well. You could also consider taking some extra supplements to get you through this particularly challenging time.
Many of us have developed some bad ‘comfort eating’ habits during lockdown, but when you’re under a lot of stress, it’s important to eat small, regular, healthy meals and top up with supplements if you feel your diet hasn’t been as good as it could be.
While you’ve got time, batch cook and prepare healthy snacks so you’ve got something available when you’re short on time once you go back to work or take the kids to school.
3. Practice one deep relaxation technique every day, if only for a few minutes. Like everything that’s worth doing, it takes a while to learn and it’s good to join an online class or use an app when you start. But even whilst you’re learning you’ll start to notice a difference in how you feel.
4. Reprioritise. List everything you have to do, and for each thing on the list, work out what would happen if you didn’t do it straight away – or even at all. Then make a new, shorter list of the five most urgent, and complete that before starting on the next five. These could be quite small steps, such as putting the bins out before you decide to head into town.
5. Try a licensed herbal medicine. There are a number of herbal remedies to help us through times of stress, and each one has its unique way of working. Herbs are a safe, effective and natural way of giving our body and mind the support it needs until we’re happy enough to manage without, and one that’s really well-researched for stress is St John’s Wort.
What Does St John’s Wort Do?
St John’s Wort is most famous for its ability to help with mild depression, and has in the past been described as ‘nature’s Prozac’. Clinical trials have found it to be as effective as mainstream pharmaceutical antidepressants for some people but without the associated side effects.
However, like mainstream antidepressants, it can be a few weeks before you notice a significant improvement, so it’s worth sticking with it.
If you’re already taking antidepressants, you should always seek guidance from your doctor or a medical professional before using St John’s Wort, as it could interact with your other medications.
How Does St John’s Wort Work?
There has been considerable research into St John’s Wort and we know of two constituents which have a strong influence on our mood. The first is Hyperforin, which enables some of the mood-enhancing chemicals we produce, like serotonin, GABA and dopamine to stay active in the body for longer. The other Hypericin, which also has a mood-lifting action and antioxidant properties.
HRI Good Mood™ St John’s Wort tablets are a herbal medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms of slightly low mood and mild anxiety based on traditional use. Each HRI Good Mood™ tablet contains 334 mg of St John’s Wort extract (Hypericum perforatum L.) equivalent to 1670mg – 2338mg of St John’s Wort, so two tablets provide the strongest daily dose of St John’s Wort on the UK market.
So if you’re finding the thought of going back out into the world is making you feel stressed and anxious, just remember you’re not alone. Give yourself some time, and try some of these natural ways to help reduce feelings of overwhelm.
Please note: St John’s Wort should not be taken alongside certain medicines including prescription medication and hormonal contraceptives, such as the pill. Always read the patient information leaflet.
Photo by Jessica Rockowitz on Unsplash