Stressed Out? Natural Ways to Destress During LockdownDr. Surya Bhagwati
It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during an epidemic outbreak. Hearing constant reports about the illness and death caused by the outbreak world over can be hard to take. But even amid the pandemic, it is important to make sure that you take care of your physical and mental health. We must cope with the stress and anxiety that the pandemic brings. Stress and anxiety can trigger ailments such as insomnia, depression, high blood pressure and more. It may also lead to an imbalance of the three doshas; vata, pitta and kapha in the body, depending on an individual’s constitution.
Here are some ayurvedic tips that can help you manage stress and anxiety during this time period:
Eat right and hydrate well
Eat foods that help you relax. Choose foods that help reduce stress. All fresh fruits, lightly cooked, spiced vegetables and whole grains will revive your tired mind and body. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to flush out any disease-causing toxic matter from your system. You can also add some calming teas like peppermint or chamomile to your daily diet. Use this time to get restful sleep of 7-8 hours – this can also drastically reduce stress and anxiety.
Exercise is a good way to de-stress
Yoga is a great way to exercise all parts of your body, while also soothing nerves and balancing the mind. Some of the yoga poses that can be practised are child’s pose, bridge pose, standing forward bend pose, eagle pose, extended triangle pose and extended puppy pose (you can find explanations and demonstrations of each of these poses online). Simple pranayama exercises can also help restore vitality to the energy channels of the body, release tension, and offer support to the mind and the nervous system.
Create a sense of structure and routine in daily life
At the most fundamental level, our physiology is very much adapted to and supported by some sense of regularity. This is precisely why the daily routine is such good medicine for anxiety. The routine itself has a very grounding and stabilizing effect on the system; it creates several familiar and comforting reference points throughout the day. This in turn sends an affirmation to the body that all is well and we can be at ease. Adopting a daily routine is also an act of love and self-care. Our routines provide us with opportunities to take care of our health and well-being, despite what else might be going on in our lives. While one is at home, try and keep a routine like one is actually going to the office. Don’t stay in pyjamas all day, eat at the same time and schedule the day with virtual meetings like you would at the office. These seem like inane steps but really help.
Meditation, even if practised for as few as 10 minutes each day, can help you control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and relax the mind. It consists of the silent repetition of a word, sound, or phrase while sitting quietly with eyes closed and a good posture for 10 to 20 minutes. This should be done in a quiet place to get rid of any distractions. Sitting is preferred to lying down to avoid falling asleep. Relax your muscles and breathe through your nose naturally. During a meditation session, all worries and thoughts should be dismissed by focusing on the word, sound or phrase.
Abhyanga or self-oil massage utilizes the absorbing properties of the skin to not only nourish but also provide a healing and calming effect on the mind and body. Daily massage with natural oils like sesame, coconut, almond, tea tree, etc pacifies all the doshas to provide relief from fatigue, stress, and promote peaceful sleep.
Avoid unhelpful coping strategies
Habits like drinking alcohol and smoking may not help cope with stress and anxiety. They not only harm you physically but can also increase levels of stress and anxiety and reduce immunity. It is better to avoid such practices.
Staying in touch with near and dear ones can also help reduce anxiety and promote positive thoughts and environment around you. During these difficult times, we must take care of our physical and mental health and take preventative measures like practising personal hygiene and social distancing till the tide passes over. We hope everybody stays safe and healthy! This too shall pass