The Surprising Way To Manage Your Stress During A Global Pandemic
These are challenging times.
In the face of this global pandemic, I spend my days riding a wave of emotions, just as many of my patients do, and, I am sure, many of you do as well. From the desire to help and change something to a feeling of helplessness and sense that we have no control, it is only natural that anxiety and fear will take root and leave us feeling frazzled and worried.
There are many causes and reasons for anxiety, some of them physiological in nature and some more situational, like our current reality with COVID-19. While you may have already started to implement some self-care practices to help reduce your stress during this time—like limiting your news consumption, focusing on getting more sleep, or prioritizing a nutritious diet—there's one healthy practice you may not have considered. In my experience as an integrative medicine doctor, one way to help manage anxious thoughts is by nourishing your gut in a strategic way.
Four targeted strains to beat bloating and support regularity.*
That's because our digestive systems support a number of processes in the body—including how we make and manufacture the majority of our neurotransmitters. Some of these neurotransmitters—chemical messengers in the brain—are responsible for mood regulation, such as serotonin and dopamine. Many of these digestive processes are affected by probiotics, or the good bacteria that live in our gut.
Supporting a healthy gut begins with eating an anti-inflammatory diet, with low levels of gluten and dairy. I also recommend a probiotic supplement with specific targeted strains to support your gut, in addition to increasing good fats, like olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee.* Finally, fermented foods like kombucha and kefir naturally contain probiotic bacteria.
When anxiety persists, though, and interferes with your quality of life, medications or other interventions may be the next step with the support and advice from your doctor.
As we all continue to ride the ups and downs of dealing with the pandemic, keep these strategies in mind. I know that we will all ultimately be OK—but right now we need the strength, endurance, and self-compassion to get through this unprecedented and historic journey that is truly testing all of us.