It is a very normal reaction to feel stressed, fearful, anxious, and worried about our future and our security amidst this Corona-Pandemic and lockdowns
However ongoing and unmanaged stress can wreak havoc on our physical health, mental health, our mindset, the way we react to situations and people, and our ability to make good decisions.
If we follow Dr Hans Selye’s 3 phases of stress (General Adaptation Syndrome or GAS), it is in this initial phase that we exhibit that “fight or flight” response that many of you may have be experiencing in past weeks.
The moment the stress response is activated our heart rate speeds up; our blood pressure increases; our respiration quickens; our hormones that help provide immediate energy such as adrenaline, noradrenalin and cortisol are released into the circulatory system; our blood flow is directed away from our digestive system and toward our head for quick thinking and to our arms and legs for the power necessary for ‘fight or flight’.
In this ‘fight or flight’ mode our sympathetic nervous system becomes active and all the body’s metabolic functions are geared directly for survival. This feature of our central nervous system (CNS) has evolved over millions of years into a brilliant safety mechanism that support us through life-threatening events.
Ironically, it in this initial response phase that there is higher risk of a decrease the effectiveness of the immune system, making us more susceptible to illness during this phase which is why we have been emphasising immune-support and immune-building these past two months.
But what happens when we remain under high stress in these uncertain times
The idea, is that once the danger has passed the stress response (sympathetic nervous system) turns off, and the body relaxes, triggering the parasympathetic nervous system to switch on.
In this mode the metabolic functions return to normal (i.e. our heart rate decreases as does our blood pressure; our blood flow is directed back to our digestive processes and our ‘stress hormones’ stop being released so that the body can go back to its regular routine of fighting off viruses, assimilating nutrients and producing energy to enable us to carry out our normal daily activities).
The challenge we all have is the “danger” hasn’t passed. We are all still living the consequences of COVID-19 restrictions and social isolation.
And as a result we run the risk of continuing to function in sympathetic mode. This puts us at great risk of a compromised immune system, long term health problems, low energy and vitality and a general struggle to get through the day.
It is at this stage that we are adapting to this pandemic stress - if you like, it becomes our new “norm”, and unless we take measures to manage this external stress, the body will take measures to reduce the effect of the stressor. This may manifest in symptoms of lowered energy or mood, compensatory behaviours such as seeking out comfort food, less desire for physical activity and all the consequences of these behaviours.
So How do we deal with and manage COVID-19 Stress?
Many of you, in our beautiful community, are dealing with many stressors amidst this crisis. Social isolation, job loss and insecurity, lack of support, change in routines, financial pressures, and an uncertain future – as we struggle with this new, ‘normal’.
And it is in these times that we turn to Nature to provide us with herbal medicines to help protect, nourish, and nurture our nervous system and adrenal glands to build the resilience and support we need.
These are some of our favourites we draw upon.
If you need herbal support now, either pop in-store if you are local, or call us on 5243 9084 and our professional team will recommend a beautiful stress support solution which we can deliver to your house during the lockdown
Withania is an Ayurvedic herb (traditional Indian) and one of our favourites for stress and debility. It is the number one tonic to the whole nervous system and used when we are under both acute and chronic stress. It supports adrenal function by acting as an adaptogen.
Adaptogens increase the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety and fatigue.
Rehmania is one of the most important tonics in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is used to nourish and replenish depleted vital energy known as “qi” (pronounced ‘Chi’)
Rhodiola is another beautiful adaptogenic herb that is very rejuvenating and restorative. Traditionally rhodiola has been used to increase physical endurance, work productivity and longevity and was revered as a “gift of the spirits”. More recent research has revealed rhodiola as a great protective herb to the nervous system, (and also the cardiovascular system), a great anti-fatigue, anti-anxiety, anti-depressive and anti-ageing. Wow a must have!
Siberian and Panax ginseng
These two ginsengs are well known ‘adaptogens’ – herbs that protect the adrenal glands when under stress. They promote energy, endurance and stamina. These revitalising herbs work to improve energy levels by supporting the nervous system and enhancing the functioning of the adrenal glands therefore increasing the body’s ability to deal with stress.
St John’s Wort
St John’s wort is great for lowered mood and has been used since the middle ages as a valuable relaxing herb and has long-lasting tonic effects on the whole nervous system. It is a gentle nerve tonic, boosting the whole nervous system when taken regularly over a period of 3-6 months. In the case of long-term stress leading to nervous exhaustion, St John’s Wort may help build up energy levels.
Brahmi and Gingko
These beautiful herbs are a great combination to use for poor memory, focus and concentration. Gingko stimulates the blood circulation (hence oxygen) to the brain. Brahmi is a beautiful Ayurvedic herb that helps the brain focus and retain information It has also been shown to reduce anxiety so it is a great herb to take during exams.
Valarian, Hops, Passionflower and Melissa
Getting adequate and quality sleep is vital when exposed to added stress and so these herbs are a great help in getting you to sleep, staying asleep and waking refreshed.
Astragalus is an immune tonic that gently supports the immune system as it is prone to be compromised under continuing stress.
Get the Best Advice from our Qualified Practitioners
If you feel you need Practitioner Help with Managing your Mental Health, in the current climate, it is the time to book a professional consultation with the Mammoth Health Naturopaths.
Our Practitioners are implementing their Naturopathic COVID-19 Immune & Stress Protocols with their Patients.
By working on your individual health needs, our Practitioner team experience great success in addressing underlying causes and achieving optimal health and vitality for our patients.
But it is important to start Now.
Our Consultations are available daily and on-line using our easy to use Telehealth technology – so you can enjoy the flexibility of attending your consultation wherever you may be and during lockdowns. Book your Consultation Now
Because it’s Not a Rehearsal
© 2021 Live Better Naturally Pty Ltd
The information provided in this article is for information purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. We recommend you consult with a GP or other healthcare professional before taking any action based on this article. While the author uses best endeavours to provide accurate and true content, the author makes no guarantees or promises regarding the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information presented. If you rely on any information provided in this article, you do so at your own risk.