February 18, 2022

Chronic anxiety—the epidemic from the pandemic

We were shocked when the Earth stopped last year. For two weeks, we were told, we were supposed to stay at home and let the pandemic pass. It didn’t. The impact of every area of life continues almost a year later. Along with the pandemic is an epidemic of chronic anxiety that is wracking its own kind of havoc. As a restorative physician, I see it in my patients every day.

Chronic anxiety—the epidemic from the pandemic

A recent study cited that 55% of people in Europe, and 49% in the United States are chronically stressed over the workplace situation. And it makes sense—working from home whether you have kids or not, it’s a lot to handle; Zoom calls all day long, lack of work-life balance, and just the sheer amount of time inside has us all on the verge of insanity and causing chronic anxiety to many.

We are doing our best to build a healthy immunity and protect ourselves from the pandemic, but what are you doing about chronic anxiety and its negative impacts?

Chronic anxiety’s physical impacts

Chronic anxiety affects our entire body. Here’s just a few ways anxiety shows up:

  • Respiratory Problems
    When we are anxious our breathing becomes short, shallow, and rapid. This can also lead to dizziness, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet and could even cause you to pass out. And people with asthma this affects them even more.
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
    Anxiety can lead to chronic digestion like stomach pains, excessing bloating or abdominal cramping, and diarrhea
  • Lowered Immune System
    Let’s face it, a low immune system is the last thing we need during a pandemic, with added anxiety our bodies have harder time fighting
  • Heart Disease
    Heart palpitations and rapid breathing patterns are commonly when anxiety levels are elevated
  • Muscle Tension and Chronic Pain
    Sore muscles, joint pain, arthritis and other chronic issues can transpire from the stress on the central nervous system
  • Adrenaline Release
    And finally , and maybe my most important point here is that chronic long term stress has your body releasing a hormone called Adrenaline. There is an adrenaline-nervous system relationship and there is an adrenaline- liver relationship. In fact too much adrenaline can be a factor in almost every system as it can feed viruses in your body that really underlie the autoimmune conditions we face today. When there is too much ongoing release of adrenaline it puts an enormous strain on both systems. This can lead to a variety of increased symptoms in the body.

As you can see chronic anxiety takes a toll on our bodies causing short and long-term issues, and I didn’t even name them all!

Self care is key

So, now that I scared you with reality (unintentionally, of course!), let’s talk about how to deal with anxiety—or better yet, prevent it.

Since we know the mind/body connection is real and when we are emotionally tolled, our bodies react. Let’s take a look at ways to counteract it by doing smart things for our body and mind. Here are a few of my favorite ways:

  • Meditate
    I know you’ve heard it before, and maybe it’s time you give it a try?
  • Take a bath
    Nothing like a warm salt bath to soak away the stress of the day. It really does work.
  • Take a walk
    Getting out of the house into the crisp air will awake your sense and clear your head
  • Just move
    Whether you do “Just Dance” with your kids, yoga, or whatever gets those endorphins going, moving your body is so healing.

Eating right throughout the day

With all those positive things coming into your life, you’ll sense the difference, but let’s not forget the thing we do three or four times a day, every day of the year: eating.

The best way to keep healthy this season though is by eating a healthy diet. Fresh fruits and veggies are honestly the best defense against stress and for keeping your immunity system healthy and working hard to protect you. They are packed with minerals and phytonutrients which feed your mind and your body by keeping your adrenals stable. For example, you can feel calm just by eating a mango thanks to the magnesium it has. And most every fruit and vegetable is antibacterial and antiviral!

When you start with a foundation of healthy eating you can survive and deal with anything that you’re faced with. And in order to do whatever you’re here to do, whatever you’re called to do, your soul’s journey, you had to have a healthy body. It starts with food. It really does.

For more information on keeping healthy this season, download my Guide to Immunity and let me help you with chronic anxiety—the epidemic from the pandemic.