You would think with more time at home, and potentially more ‘free’ time, that we’d all be feeling relaxed and entirely un-stressed right now. The truth is however, that ever since the beginning of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, many of us have been experiencing more stress and burnout than ever before. The difference between experiencing stress now, and before 2020, is that we were able to head out to music venues, bars or restaurants, parties, shopping, or simply gather with friends to laugh off the remains of a stressful week. Now, with the only commute often being from the bedroom to the makeshift home office, the boundary between ‘work’ and ‘leisure’ time has blurred, and ironically, many of us are working more than ever before too.
If ‘burnout’ was on the rise before 2020, in 2021 it’s become a pandemic all of its own, and statistics show that the early part of 2021 is seeing a ‘Burnout Spike’. Burnout is defined as a state of ‘physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, caused by excessive and prolonged stress’. Our bodies and minds have the ability to adapt to stress to a certain extent – and all hermetic stressors like cold showers, intermittent fasting and working out are even good for us! – but chronic and draining stress is something we’re just not evolved to deal with. To remedy burnout, it may be important to visit a professional like a health coach or counsellor, but you can also heal via the right type of exercise for you, connecting socially, cutting out negative influences on social media, limiting screen time, getting more sleep, avoiding alcohol, and re-evaluating your life priorities. If you feel like you’re on the edge of burnout or want to prevent it and start addressing your stress before you’re overwhelmed however, try the following stress relief supplements and daily routines to turn things around:
Our breath is always communicating with the nervous system. When we breathe in a short and shallow way, it signals to the body and brain that something is wrong, and we begin to experience a stress response. Even just thinking about an over-flowing email inbox or a busy work schedule can create a physical stress response, which presents as heightened blood pressure, a spike in the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol, tense muscles, and a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, weight gain, and disrupted sleep. When we breathe in a calm, slow and gentle rhythm however, we can actually lift ourselves out of a state of stress, and help bring things back into balance again. If you find yourself feeling stressed, take a second to pause and become aware of your breathing. Next, slowly inhale through your nose for a count of five, hold for a count of five, and exhale for a count of five. Repeat five times and you’ll feel much calmer, clearer and more in control again.
2. Krill Oil
Did you know that good quality fat is actually essential for mood, cognitive function, mental health and overall wellbeing? Our brains are made up of a large percentage of fat, and in order to communicate with each other, all the cells in our body need a cushion of fat between them too, to help nerve impulses transmit smoothly. Not getting enough dietary fat can lead to poor cognitive function, dry skin and hair, infertility, depression, anxiety, and osteoporosis. To cover all your bases and give your mind and body one of the most important stress relieving supplements, krill oil is important to include in your supplement routine.
We tend to store a lot of stress in our physical tissue, which is one of the reasons exercise is a great way to feel more relaxed. When we exercise, we also release endorphins (‘happy hormones’), and increase the brain’s uptake of blood and oxygen, helping us think more clearly and feel less overwhelmed. We’re evolved to move too – humans have been running, climbing and hunting for millions of years! Your form of movement doesn’t have to match anyone else’s, so choose what truly feels good for you. Sometimes a 5k run will help you release stress, whilst other times a yoga practice can be more calming. Tune into what you feel you really need, and move often.
The ancient health system of Ayurveda is one of the wisest and longest-living wellbeing traditions in the world, along with Chinese Medicine. One of the herbs most recommended by Eastern health practitioners is Ashwagandha, one of the best stress relieving supplements, which can also help balance hormone levels in men and women too. Ashwagandha is known to be an effective adaptogen, stress-reliever, aphrodisiac, anxiety-reducer, fertility-enhancer, and can help prevent and relieve depression too. For mood and hormonal balance, this is always in my supplement stash!
5. Create more space
Despite the praise it gets, multi-tasking is actually a huge cause of stress, and whilst we may think we’re doing multiple tasks at once, what we’re actually doing is simply switching between lots of different tasks very quickly. Doing this is stressful, and means we’re not fully focussed on one thing at all, and can’t possibly do our best at it. If you’re working on a project, listening to a news channel, and scrolling through social media, consider just how many things are demanding your brain’s attention, and just how stressful that is for your body and mind. In the very same way, if we overload ourselves with an over-stuffed to-do list each day, we’re constantly in a state of reacting and rushing through the day, only to collapse at the end of it, ready to face a whirlwind of stress tomorrow. It may sound counterintuitive, but you can actually get a lot more done if you put less on your to-do list. Create more space in your day by scheduling more, but working deeper into the tasks you set for yourself. If you can truly focus on your projects each day and completely finish tasks, you’ll feel far less stressed than if you have five different jobs that are all half-finished.
The 5-HTP supplement contains two highly beneficial and effective ingredients, that have been used by cultures around the world for thousands of years to promote health and wellbeing. Schisandra berry has been used to improve longevity, balance blood pressure, and stimulate the immune system, whilst Reishi mushroom is well known for both improving sleep and being a powerful supplement for the immune system too. For improving immunity, sleep and overall longevity, this is one of the best supplements to go for.
7. Find Your Fun Again
Fun is a quick way to feel less stressed, but it’s often at the bottom of our to-do list… or not on it at all. Having fun is such an important part of life, and it can have a very profound ability to help pull us back from the brink of being overly stressed. Whether it’s dancing, listening to music, cooking, playing an instrument, or riding your bike, make sure you’re doing it often. If you feel like ‘fun’ hasn’t been on the agenda for a while, make a list of 10 things that make you happy or give you a sense of fun, and commit to doing at least one of them every day.
Love Life Supplements’ Panax Ginseng capsules has the highest quantity of ‘Ginsenosides’, that contribute towards clear thinking, concentration, memory, and efficiency. Ginseng is popular with athletes and those performing vigorous exercise, PLUS it has the added benefit of helping relieve anxiety and stress. This is a great option if you feel you’ve been lacking motivation recently, or you love moving your body and want a an extra physical and mental boost.
Pretty much all of us know how it feels to get a bad night’s sleep - the next day we’re craving coffee and sugar, less able to tolerate challenges, and unable to adapt to the stress life throws at us. The simple act of sleeping is an incredibly powerful way to help us reduce stress, become more resilient, reduce inflammation, boost mood levels, and set you up for feeling calmer, stronger and more balanced. When it comes to how much to sleep, aim for between 7 and 9 hours, but the most important part is when you sleep: the hours between 10pm and 2am are when our bodies need to be in prime rest and repair mode, healing and digesting the day, and to feel our best, we need to reconnect to these natural rhythms.