Managing Your Mental Health During a Tough Time
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Even if you are not prone to having mental health problems, our current situation due to COVID-19 is enough to result in anxiety in the best of us.
Fortunately, with the right tools, you can help keep your mental health intact. Here are four natural ways to manage your mental health:
#1: Eat the right foods.
While there isn’t a magic supplement for curing anxiety, there is proof that some nutrients and foods can help alleviate anxiety:
Fatty fish – This type of fish is rich in omega- 3 fatty acids that have shown to reduce anxiety and improve depression symptoms. People who get over 2,000 grams of fish oil a day have shown significant improvements. It is hard to get that in your diet, so consider supplements.
Probiotic-rich foods – Think sauerkraut, pickles, and kefir. These probiotic-rich foods have shown to decrease anxiety levels.
Leafy greens – Having magnesium levels that are too low can put you at an increased risk of anxiety and/or depression. The recommended daily allowance for women over 30 years of age per day is 320 mg and for men over 30 years of age is 420 mg each day.
Foods including almonds, spinach, black beans, and peanut butter are rich sources of magnesium.
#2: Be mindful.
When you are feeling anxious, try a few mindfulness techniques. These help you to feel more present in the here and now instead of focusing on a future that is uncertain.
Try grabbing an orange or other citrus fruit and use all ﬁve of your senses to eat it. Focus on the sight, smell, touch, taste, and how it sounds when you eat it. This will help relax your autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for anxiety.
#3: Stay active.
You likely already know that exercise is good for you, but a workout is full of anxiety-busting beneﬁts. People who exercise, especially if they were able to do so outside, experience more energy and less depression.
If you’re not where you can get out and take a walk safely, indoor physical activity, such as walking up and down your stairs or around your living room is still helpful.
#4: Create a power downtime.
When it comes to anxiety and sleep it’s sometimes hard to tell which is causing which. Those that suffer from insomnia are 17 times more likely to also experience anxiety.
To help combat poor sleep, consider creating a bedtime routine.
About 90 minutes before bed, take a warm shower or bath. Next, take some time to relax by reading. If you read on a tablet, be sure it automatically adjusts the amount of blue light you are being exposed to. If it doesn’t, try a pair of blue-light blocking glasses.
Finally, try a few deep breathing exercises before nodding off. Breathe in for four seconds, then for seven seconds hold your breath, then breathe out for eight seconds and repeat several times.
Although these times can make us feel anxious, there are ways to combat and prevent it altogether.