The past few weeks have been some of the most stressful and unusual days many of us have ever lived through. For those who have suffered from anxiety in the past, you may have noticed a heightening of symptoms; others may be feeling this way for the first time.
I want to share some practical tips you can incorporate into your routine from home that will support your mental health and help you get through these exceptional times!
Keep your blood sugar stable.
Drops in blood sugar cause a surge in our stress hormones and can worsen anxiety. Have 3 well-proportioned meals a day with 1-2 servings of healthy fat, a palm-sized piece of protein (20-25g), and lots of bright and colourful vegetables!
Avoid simple sugars that can cause sugar spikes and drops.
Move your body.
Exercise burns stress hormones and floods your body with endorphins making it one of the most effective ways to support your mental health.
Gyms and studios across Toronto and the entire country are offering virtual classes, including our own Lauren Finkelstein who is offering online Essentrics classes, you can find the schedule here!
Other options to try:
- Yoga With Adriene on Youtube
- Power Yoga Canada is offering classes on Instagram and Facebook live 5 times daily!
- Misfit Studios is also offering classes on Instagram live at 8AM and 7PM
Sleep is the time when your body and mind get to repair and restore. When you don’t get enough sleep the connection between your prefrontal cortex (reasoning, logic) and your amygdala (fight or flight response) is weakened and your response to stress is heightened.
With more time at home, many are noticing a spike in their coffee and alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, both of these can impact the quality and quantity of your sleep!
Coffee can take up to 12 hours to fully metabolize and blocks something known as adenosine, which is essential to get proper sleep. Cut out that afternoon coffee and avoid any caffeine in the 12 hours before you head to bed.
Alcohol helps us fall into the early stages of sleep but degrades the most restorative REM sleep. This is why you may get a full 8 hours but still not feel rested after drinking too much. If you are struggling with anxiety, I suggest reducing your alcohol intake.
Now is the perfect time to experiment with meditation. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic part of our nervous system, also known as the ‘rest and digest’ portion.
Social Media/News Detox.
Staying informed is important, but getting inundated with the same information from 5 different sources can add to feelings of overwhelm. Limit your news intake to 1 time daily and take a social media ‘detox’ for 2-3 days to clear your mind.
There are several supplements and botanical medicines that can be supportive of the lifestyle recommendations listed above to help reduce feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. The majority of them work on the GABAnergic system, supporting a calm central nervous system. If you feel you need more support, book a virtual appointment here.
Dr. Kelly Clinning, ND
Dr. Kelly Clinning is a licensed and registered Naturopathic Doctor (ND) with a passion for research and evidence-based care. Her clinical focus is in treating women’s health with a particular concentration on reproductive health, PCOS, endometriosis and thyroid health. Her goal is to help women connect with their bodies, understand their remarkable physiology, and maintain sustainable balance in their health and life.
Dr. Kelly has her naturopathic prescribing license and incorporates natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) and bio-identical hormone treatment into her practice. She also uses nutrition, botanical medicine, acupuncture, and clinical supplementation.
After graduating from Western University with a Bachelor of Science and an Honours specialization in Kinesiology, she completed a Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) degree from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto. She is a member of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors, the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, and the Endocrinology Association of Naturopathic Physicians and is in good standing with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.