FAQs on How to Deal with Stress in times of COVID

The Coronavirus has been giving the world more stress than any of us can take.  But that doesn’t mean we’re going to buckle under the pressure. Stress and anxiety are normal responses to trying times and there are many natural ways to deal with it.  That’s why we’ve compiled this list of FAQs to help you understand stress better and manage it with natural, herbal and Ayurvedic remedies successfully.

1. Why is it important to manage stress?

If you suffer stress for a long time it can eventually lead to health complications.  Stress needs to be managed and dealt with to prevent it from causing:

  •       Issues of mental health
  •       Physical health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure
  •       Sexual issues
  •       Skin problems and thinning of hair
  •       Digestive problems leading to reflux and gastritis
  •       Low energy levels
  •       Low immunity
  •       High blood sugar
  •       Fertility issues
  •       Menstrual imbalances

 

2. Are stress and anxiety mental illnesses?

Stress is a common human response to crisis.  It is the body and mind’s way of reacting to situations that are out of the ordinary. It causes the nervous system to release cortisol (stress hormone) in the body, making more energy available to the body to deal with the problem.

In fact, stress is not even categorised as an illness.  However, long term stress can cause mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, psychosis and PTSD.  

 

3. Why do we get anxious/ what are the reasons that cause stress?

Stress and anxiety can be caused by a number of reasons.  Some of them include:

  •       Personal illness or illness of a loved one
  •       Personal relationships
  •       Financial problems
  •       Deaths in the family
  •       Work pressures/ Professional failures
  •       Future uncertainty
  •       Habit of being pessimistic
  •       Having unrealistic expectations
  •       Low self esteem
  •       Stress and anxiety may also be a mental health problem

Unfortunately, we can now add home quarantine and global pandemic to this list.

 

4. What are the common symptoms of stress?

Physical symptoms of stress usually include:

  • shortness of breath
  • irregular heart beat
  • angina
  • headache
  • tingling or pricking sensation
  • tremors
  • sleep disorders
  • anorexia
  • nervousness
  • vomiting
  • sweating
  • forgetfulness
  • amnesia
  • unexplained fears
  • speech distortion
  • confusion
  • stomachache
  • muscle tension
  • headache
  • rapid breathing
  • fast heartbeat
  • sweating
  • shaking
  • dizziness
  • frequent urination
  • change in appetite
  • trouble sleeping
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue

 

5. How do normal medications for anxiety affect us?

Though a number of allopathic medicines work to relieve and suppress anxiety they have various side effects that can cause long term complications.

     Some common side effects can be:

    • Drowsiness
    • Confusion
    • Addiction to the drug
    • Stomach upset
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Sexual dysfunction
    • Headache
    • Suicidal thoughts
    • High blood pressure
    • Dryness of mouth
    • Blurred vision
    • Constipation
    • Increased heart rate
    • Weight gain

     

    6. Why should I opt for natural Ayurvedic medications?

    Ayurveda always focuses on the root of a problem rather than its symptoms.  It understands that stress leads to a variety of diseases in the mind and the body.   This is one of the major causes for low immunity and therefore makes the body prone to disease.

     According to Ayurveda, stress is associated with the three humours or doshas in our body - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. How much stress our body creates depends on the balance of these doshas. To stay healthy the doshas need to be well balanced.

     

    7. Are there any Ayurveda tips to relieve stress?

    Ayurveda recommends a number of easy home remedies to deal with stress and anxiety.  Here are a few:

    a. Warm baths

    Soaking yourself in warm water is extremely helpful in releasing body tension and in calming the mind.  Add essential oils or baking soda to loosen your tense muscles and soothe the senses.

    b. Oil Pulling

    This is an age-old solution to many common ailments, is easy to do and very effective.  Swish a tablespoon of raw sesame oil or coconut oil between your teeth and inside your mouth every morning before brushing your teeth.  Do it for about 10 to 15 minutes for maximum benefit. When you finally spit it out, the oil will have turned into a white frothy liquid.  This helps to detoxify the mouth and relieve tension.

    c. Abhyanga (Self Massage)

    A daily self-massage especially on both soles and palms using organic, unrefined sesame oil or any other massage oil suited to your body constitution type, with gentle pressure is beneficial.  Do it every day before your shower/bath. This will help calm your nerves, revitalize and promote blood circulation

    d. Nasya

    Applying oil to the nasal passages has a soothing and calming effect.  Partly because it opens the airways in the nose and helps breathing. 2 to 3 drops in each nasal passage every morning of medicated oil or cow’s ghee is very helpful in relieving stress.

    e. Read positive thoughts or listen to music

    Positive/Motivational books or listening to calming music are effective ways to relax and relieve anxiety or stress.  Such activities quieten the mind and rejuvenate. Soothing music or books can also induce sleep.

    Rest can solve most problems.  A good 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night can go a long way in healing both mind and body.  It is important to set a routine and avoid distractions like too much screen time before you go to bed.  You can induce better sleep with soft music, a warm glass of milk, a positive read or even a warm shower before you retire every night.  Cells are known to grow and rejuvenate when we are sleeping and that makes a good night’s sleep not only important but essential.

    f. Form a routine and stick to it

    A sense of the ordinary and sticking to the routine can make one feel comfortable and safe.  Adopting a daily routine and then following it can give confidence and security. This immensely contributes towards good mental health .  Ayurveda strongly recommends adhering to routines for stability and good health.

    g. Meditation for Stress

    The role of meditation in calming the senses can never be over emphasized.  Meditation has proven its capability to promote peace of mind and stabilize it.  The best part is that it is very easy to practice. Various methods of meditation can relax the mind and have a tranquilizing effect. It helps in boosting health and strengthening the mind to deal with stress better.

    h. Yoga

    Something people have started realizing the world over is the importance of Yoga in maintaining one’s health and well-being.  From asanas to breathing exercises Yoga enhances fitness, strengthens the body and mind and helps keep away illnesses.

    i. Watch what you eat

    The food you eat can either make or break you.  Certain kinds of food or lifestyle habits can actually aggravate stress, while others can help you deal with it. 

    Ayurveda specifically suggests staying away from sugary foods and drink, caffeine, alcohol and smoking, all of which can be a cause for anxiety and stress.  On the other hand there are foods that can help keep you calm. These include brown rice, green tea, almonds, oranges and apples. Fresh seasonal fruits, dry fruits, red rice, milk, bananas, grape fruit, pineapple, figs, pistachio, garlic, carrots, asparagus, and broccoli are known to help too.

    Light meals at dinner time can help keep your digestive system healthy and prevent sleeplessness. 

     

    8. Are there any effective home remedies to treat stress and anxiety?

    a) Freshly brewed chamomile and mint tea do a great job of calming the nerves.

    b) 10 almonds, soaked overnight and ground can be drunk in milk at bedtime to induce sleep.

    c)  Have a glass of orange juice with honey and nutmeg every day.

    d) A warm glass of buffalo milk with a pinch of pure turmeric powder, a pinch of cardamom powder and a pinch of nutmeg powder at night before bedtime can help you relax and sleep well

    e) Take ½ tsp of turmeric powder and add it into 1 cup of boiling water. Simmer for 4 minutes. Sieve and filter. Add honey as a sweetener. Drink this tea before sleeping at night.

    f) Pudina/ Menthol helps cure insomnia by keeping your mind calm and lets you sleep in peace.  Chew a few leaves everyday or make yourself a herbal pudina tea before you sleep. 

    h) Spices like black pepper help to enhance intellect power.  Adding freshly ground black pepper to your meals can improve the coordination between different functions of the mind.

    g) Cow’s milk boiled with 1/4 tsp poppy seeds has a calming effect and helps tremendously to sleep well.

    i) A spoon of curd with sugar before bedtime will make sure you sleep soundly.

    9. Are there Ayurvedic supplements and medications to treat stress and anxiety?

    a) Shankhpushpi supplements are very useful to relieve anxiety and stress issues.

    b) Ashwagandha is full of antioxidants.  It also has a calming effect. 1/2 tsp with milk at bed time can do wonders.  You can also take Ashwagandha in capsule form.

    c) Add one teaspoon each of Brahmi powder and Ashwagandha powder in two glasses of water. Boil and reduce to one glass and drink at least once a day for best results.

    d) You can also add a teaspoon of only Brahmi powder in two glasses of water. Boil and reduce to one glass. Drink every day at bedtime. It will induce peaceful sleep and its regular use helps to cure insomnia. Brahmi capsules are as effective as the powder.

    e) Manasamitram Gulika Tablets 

    These are especially used in the Ayurvedic treatment of mental disorders, sleep disorders, depression and anxiety. The formulation consists of 73 ingredients and is made according to the traditional Ayurvedic principles of Kerala Ayurveda.  Manasamithra Gulika pacifies the three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha and is a powerful neuroprotective medicine.

    f) Sleep Mitram  

    It is an effective solution for insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression that calms the mind. 1-2 tablets per day with warm milk/ warm water can give effective results. It contains Ashwagandha, Jatamansi, Tagar, and Shankhpushpi which is a miraculous combination of Ayurvedic herbs that effectively deal with anxiety and stress.

    g) AZ mind

    Corrects the blood pressure, calms the mind. 

    Please make sure to consult our expert physician online for a safe and natural Ayurvedic treatment based on your body constitution and specific health needs.

    To know more about Ayurvedic treatments for depression you can also check this: Depression Treatment In Ayurveda - Home Remedies & Ayurvedic Medicines

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    Dr. Greeshma Nair


    Dr. Greeshma Nair(B.A.M.S) is a Staunch believer that Ayurveda is not merely a science but lifestyle too. Her holistic approach towards diagnosis and treatment is based on the root cause of disease and gives you a three-dimensional solution to a condition that includes Ahaar (diet), Vihaar (lifestyle) and Aushadhi (medicines).