23 Feb Help, I’m Stressed! 7 Ways to Cope in this Pandemic
Over this pandemic and second lockdown in Malaysia, it’s natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief and worry. But while social distancing is necessary, it’s also making us feel isolated and lonely. If left unchecked, this can lead to depression and anxiety.
In Malaysia, reports are surfacing that every 3 in 10 adults suffer from mental health issues. Our teens fare the worst; 40% of them have anxiety and almost 20% suffer from depression.
So what can we do about it? Here are 7 healthy ways to cope with stress:
1. Take a break from the news. It’s good to be informed, but hearing bad news all day can be upsetting. This includes news on social media, so consider limiting usage to just a couple of times a day. Remember to always unplug especially before bedtime.
2. Eat healthy meals. When we’re bored or anxious our bodies will crave sugary or fatty foods, so recognise your triggers and prepare alternatives at hand. Also avoid alcohol, caffeine or tobacco which can easily lead to abuse and overuse.
3. Take care of your gut. Did you know that the gut is sensitive to emotions like sadness, anxiety or joy? That’s why we lose our appetites when we’re nervous… or even in love! Take probiotics or omega-3 to reduce gut inflammation and improve digestion, as our body works harder to respond to stress.
4. Get plenty of sleep. Worrying makes it harder to fall asleep. But the vicious cycle continues, because the next day we’re even grumpier from lack of sleep. Set a bedtime schedule, follow a nightly routine and other tips for a good night’s rest.
5. Exercise regularly. This one’s a no brainer, because exercise improves mood and boosts dopamine levels, which are feel-good chemicals in our brain. Anxiety and depression have been linked to low dopamine, so get those legs moving!
6. Continue routine healthcare. Get a personalised health screening to check your health holistically. Also, practise preventive healthcare by taking important supplements like CoronavitZ for immunity. If you have trouble sleeping, try melatonin or speak to our sleep consultants.
7. Watch your thyroid. Located at the lower front of your neck, the thyroid is responsible for hormones and metabolism. Do a regular blood test as hyper/hypothyroidism leads to restlessness, nervousness, anxiety and depression.
Am I depressed or just feeling low?
Before we go, it’s important to differentiate if you’re just feeling low, or if your emotions need more serious, medical help.
Depression: To be clinically diagnosed with depression, you have to have symptoms of persistent sadness and numbness for two weeks. Symptoms include negative thinking patterns, loss of appetite, insomnia, fatigue, lack of motivation and suicidal thoughts.
Anxiety: To be clinically diagnosed, symptoms have to persist for more than six months.These include nervousness, constant worry, heart palpitations, tension, excessive sweating,and in some cases panic attacks with chest pains and shortness of breath.
It’s common for the two conditions to co-exist, so if you have the above symptoms for prolonged periods, seek professional help from Bespoke Health. There’s always hope and help available. Don’t give up, because you are loved and valued!