From Carolina Our Nutritionist
FROM CAROLINA OUR NUTRITIONIST
Earlier this year, the world took an unexpected turn. The news of the respiratory virus COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, and no one was prepared for it. Times are strange to say the least. As Canada declared an official state of emergency, small businesses began taking the first hit, laying off staff and closing their doors, and strangely enough grocery stores became what felt like a battle ground. Stress, anxiety, and unanswered questions are what we are left with as we await the return of “normal life”.
Stress is a response from our body often triggering both psychological, and physiological effects. From a psychological perspective, it can bring on overwhelming feelings of helplessness, and anxiousness. Physiologically however, it causes a release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol plays a role in regulating blood pressure, triggering insulin release to maintain sugar levels, and is a key player in fat and carbohydrate metabolism. That being said, as cortisol is released in excess, we can develop feelings of hunger, and overwhelming cravings. Thus, “stress eating” was born! Coping with stress is the most difficult part about it. While stuck in quarantine, we may turn to our vices, and retreat back to bad habits. Identifying when these stress triggers happen, and using mindful coping strategies will be more beneficial in the long run. Here are few strategies that can help lower stress levels.
Taking A Walk in Nature
Although the reason is not completely clear, studies have proven that nature has a positive therapeutic effect on those suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression. Walking 20-30 minutes 2-3 days a week can improve overall feeling of well-being, and reduce stress levels. If walking outside is not an option during this quarantine, listening to nature sounds may have a similar calming effect. Lie down for 10 minutes and find some sounds online to help relax.
Reaching Out to Your Support System
Leaning on a friend or family is said to be the one of the most beneficial ways of getting through a stressful situation. Talk therapy, even if it means calling a friend over facetime for a coffee, can be very comforting and reassuring. Chances are, your loved ones are experiencing similar feelings, so it is important we turn to each other for support during this time.
Mindfulness has been proven to also decrease feelings of stress and anxiety, and it helps us adopt a new way of dealing with our emotions. It is easier to hide from difficult emotions than to feel them through, but mindfulness teaches us to do the opposite. Accepting how we feel in that moment, and reflecting rather than reacting is the foundation of mindfulness. You can read more about practicing mindfulness here.
As we move into our second month of self-isolation, the future is still unknown. Using this time to be positive or productive is easier said than done – and completely valid. We will be here to help you through every step of the way with no judgement. Stress is inevitable, and stress eating seems almost impossible to avoid, but we have to take a stand. Your health is our priority. If you find you are struggling with the diet, modifications are available to help keep you on track. Although we don’t have an answer to most of our questions, there is comfort in knowing we are not alone. Putting ourselves first and taking control of the things we CAN will allow us to come out of this stronger!