I think we can speak for most of us when we say this year has been more stressful than most. We're all fed up with hearing the word unprecedented - but nobody could have predicted this. So much for staying home for 2 weeks...
More people are experiencing anxiety than ever before due to the pandemic - and no wonder with the snowball effect it's had on all of our lives. Whilst we have no magic wand to make things better (believe us, we wish we did!), there are some ways to help manage COVID anxiety & feel a bit less overwhelmed.
Here are Boundless Activated Snacking's suggestions on how to make the current situation a little easier for yourself, courtesy of our nutritionist Yasmin:
1) Protect Your Mental Health
With so much going on in the world right now, you may find it hard to fully switch off from the anxiety and worry it brings with it. But it is so important, now more than ever, to take steps to protect and guard your mental and physical health.
When you are worrying, stressed or anxious, you are operating in your fight or flight side of the nervous system which can downregulate some areas of the body such as digestion, blood sugar control and hormonal balance. Ensure you take some well protected time away from listening to the radio, news or online news apps to switch off, relax and shift to the rest and digest side of your nervous system.
You may even need to schedule this time into your day as we all lead busy lives. This could be going for a walk with some music or without your phone, calling a friend, doing some painting, or colouring, sewing, a workout, or journaling. This could also be ordering your favourite takeaway, watching your fave film or putting on fresh bedding every Sunday. Do what makes you happy.
Feel free to freestyle with your journaling and use it as a thought or worry dumping exercise. This can be transformative for getting your worries and anxieties down and parking them or making a plan to try and overcome them.
Take time for you, now more than ever, and make sure that you are your biggest priority. If you’re not looking after yourself to the best of your ability, let this be your reminder to.
Moving your body can be so beneficial for the mind and reducing levels of anxiety and depression, as studies have shown. We know from scientific research that physical activity levels can also have an impact on our immunity, but it is not a case of the more the better. In fact, being sedentary and doing lots of endurance exercise may downregulate the immune system, and there seems to be a dose responsive relationship between exercise and immunity.
We’re recommended to complete about 150 minutes of moderate intensity movement a week – this could be split up into 5 x 30 minute sessions, or 20 mins daily. The take home from this should be the word recommended: this is not obligatory. It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed and bombarded by the volume of online programmes, live HIIT sessions and workout plans currently available. Please don’t feel obliged to work out just because you hear your neighbour doing yoga every morning.
Listen to your body and move only in a way that feels good for you. This could be walking, cycling, yoga, pilates, HIIT, weightlifting or going for a run. Or, it could be walking to your Sainsbury’s Local to pick up milk. You do you.
3) Support Gut Health
In times of uncertainty, it is more beneficial to focus on positivity and aspects of our own health that we can control; diet being one of those. There is now a body of research showing that the gut and the brain and intricately connected. Therefore, the health of the gut microbiome (community of bacteria, yeasts and fungi found within the large intestine) can have a direct impact on brain and mental health, and vice versa. To put it simply: to look after your mental health, you need to be looking after your gut health.
One easy way to try and support our gut health is by consuming a wide variety of plant-based fibres each week, as this promotes diversity amongst gut bacteria and creates a more beneficial environment. Try consuming a few different fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, herbs or spices this week that you haven’t had in a while to introduce some diversity into your diet.
We hope that this post helps you somewhat in navigating a situation that can feel impossible. Remember that your feelings are normal, your concerns are valid and that we’re always here to offer support & snacks whenever you need us.
Yasmin & Team Boundless x