Get a handle on lockdown stress
Mopani Pharmacy recognises that human beings need more than a routine of specified diets and medications to keep our bodies running. We need to have a balance between our minds and bodies. Illness, can present itself in more than just a stuffy nose and coughing.
We see stress, pointing to so many health conditions. If you stress more, you eat more, indulge in sugars, drink more alcohol. You dive into social media, the internet or tv shows for some entertainment. You might even up your cigarette count to a packet a day – especially if you are not at the office. As for those who are part of essential services, taking the risk of leaving their homes during this time, remains stressful. All of this may compromise your immune system.
Dr Allison Blair, a local general practitioner from the Elan Healthstyle practice, had the following to say about stress:
“When we’re stressed, our body perceives that as a threat. A threat leads to an endocrine response in the body related to hormones. The endocrine organ involved first hand is the adrenal gland. The adrenal glands are tiny organs sitting on top of the kidneys which initially release our stress hormones – both adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline is released first which tells the body to escape with an immediate increase in heart rate, release of glucose and gets us on alert. Cortisol is also released but more slowly. This gets the brain on alert and also releases glucose into the blood. There are quite a few other hormones involved in subsequent stress response as well.
Continued stress means that we are producing far too much of these acute hormones which then further causes imbalances which then leads to the physical manifestations of stress, i.e. hypertension, insomnia, fatigue, decreased immunity and repeat infections, weight loss or gain and mood problems.
Stress is inherent in our life, regardless of what is happening in South Africa at the moment. But we can help our adrenals out by supporting their health and adjusting the hormonal response.
The best adrenal support is meditation, yoga and breathing exercises. Then other lifestyle support approaches would be decent diet, maintain routine, good sleep pattern, moderate exercise (running ACTUALLY worsens adrenal health) and then supplementation. The best nutraceuticals that support adrenal function are the B vitamins, vitamin C, phosphatidylserine and the herbal adaptogens such as ashwaganda and rhodiola to name a few.”
In our own homes, cabin fever and lockdown stress can kick in
The kids are cooped up, no way to release their energy – getting louder by the day. The everlasting fight of who gets to be first to do something, remains.
Financial stress loom upon us as we’ve spent our savings, trying to prepare for the lockdown. Others with incomes based on commissions, no-work no-pay structures, and small businesses, will be greatly affected.
In this trying time, we all need to focus on staying healthy, physically, mentally and financially.
Here are our recommendations to alleviate stress
Stay, or get active
Getting the frustration out is half the work. Spend that energy. Make it a family activity if you need to. Just do something! Do not sit still and allow the stresses and negative thoughts in for too long. And yes, keep moving, even if you don’t feel like it. Exercise releases a lot of ‘happy’ hormones, and maintaining or improving your cardio vascular health is always a great way to manage stress. Just remember, do not over exert yourself!
For tips on how to get your work out done at home, read more here, and check out our Facebook page for the Lockdown Bootcamp video series by Biokineticist, Van Zyl Wait!
Your body needs to stay healthy right now. Even in isolation, bacteria can attack your body and take advantage of a compromised immune system. Many nutrients such as vitamin B are responsible for hormone production – which in turn could once again, help you get enough of the ‘happy’ ones.
Our very own Dragana, Pharmacy operations manager at Crossings, explains how Vitamins B, C and omega 3 can make all the difference.
Can I make you a hot beverage?
Every time someone is upset, Sheldon Cooper on the hit sitcom, the Big Bang Theory, offers them a hot beverage.
This may be arbitrary to some, but think about it; it is all about enjoying something small, and focusing on that one small thing for that little while. A good cup of coffee or cup of tea can really go a long way.
Get your cup ready and then proceed to check out this article about all the benefits of coffee!
A sweet or savoury treat every now and then may have the same effect – but remember to have everything in moderation!
Keep a good sleep routine
The change in work schedule and being at home can leave you tempted to catch up on your favourite shows, dig into that book, or if you are a workaholic, catch up on all the admin.
Do that, but in day time. Going to bed and getting 8 hours of sleep is highly recommended, to give your brain the chance to rest, and your immune system healthy. Try not to exceed 10 hours. Sleeping too much can be unhealthy and may feed into the despondency associated with depression.
If you feel overwhelmed, an afternoon nap of 20 to 40 minutes is perfectly acceptable, but get up after that.
If cleaning is not exactly your favourite thing, this might be a bit over-whelming. We suggest that you pick the one room in your home that you spend the most time in.
Declutter your digital spaces too – sort your inbox, unsubscribe to all the e-mailers that annoy you. Sort your phone’s gallery and get rid of the messages and photos that are not important to keep.
Every bit of ‘letting go’ will be a little weight off your shoulders.
Plan out some things
Get that chore chart done. Work on a 7-day menu. Aimlessly going through the next three weeks, looking at the same walls every day, is hard. But switching it up with a schedule, can really help.
Your finances may be a mess, for the foreseeable future. This is a great opportunity to really get a proper budget drawn up, and see where you are spending money without noticing. Make a list of all those subscriptions that cost just a little bit of money but does not provide you with anything essential, and cancel them.
Communicate with your loved-ones. In lieu of a personal visit, video call or text them! They may have advice on what you are feeling, new perspective, new ways to have some fun! This is not the time to shut anyone out.
Reading is almost always a good idea. Just avoid the heavy stuff and bad news if you feel that it overwhelms you too much. Reading a good story can take your mind off things for a while.
If reading is dreadful to you, watch some movies, TEDTalks or YouTube videos on DIY projects, tutorials and documentaries, you can learn a lot!
Sunbathe a bit
Some good ol’ sunshine is good for you! It is a great source of vitamin D, and can help you feel better. This is one of the reasons you shouldn’t sleep all day. Once you have your fill of sunlight for the day, make sure your curtains are open and that you have some sunlight enter your home if possible.
To prevent too much exposure and get top tips on sunlight safety, read more here
There are many supplements, medications, and homeopathic remedies available. There is no shame in seeking medical intervention when you need it. Doctors are still available during the lockdown and you may visit them to discuss your needs, and options available to you in terms of prescribed medicines.
Our pharmacists and wellness clinic sisters can advise on supplements or homeopathic alternatives that may aid in helping your body cope with stress and burnout.
You can e-mail a prescription to email@example.com, or visit our online shop to browse our homeopathic range and supplements. We are able to deliver during lockdown, alternatively you can visit us in-store as we are remaining open as an essential service.
There is no sure-fire way to manage your stress, everyone deals with it differently. Our pharmacists are available to you for consultation and to answer all your questions. We are here to serve.