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Is COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on your mental health? Try these tools to fight stress and anxiety

Constant stress can increase your risk for long-term health issues.

It's normal for anybody to experience stress and anxiety during this uncertain time. But don't let those negative emotions ruin your health.

The COVID-19 pandemic has frightened everyone today. With the entire world under the lockdown, deaths making the headlines, near and dear ones battling with the deadly disease, your mental health is likely to suffer. Moreover, travel restrictions, social distancing, financial insecurity, loss of job, or work from home can make people feel isolated and lonely which can lead to stress and anxiety.

Are you also struggling with stress and anxiety amidst the pandemic? It's normal for anybody to experience such feelings during this uncertain time. But don't let these negative emotions ruin your health. Here are some simple ways to look after emotional wellbeing during this challenging time.

Exercise regularly

Exercise is one of the best ways to combat stress. Exercise helps lower stress hormones such as cortisol and release endorphins, which are known to improve mood and act as natural painkillers. Regular exercise may also help improve your sleep quality and self-image, which in turn helps promote mental wellbeing.

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Try taking supplements

Some supplements have been found to help in reducing stress and anxiety. These include ashwagandha, omega-3 fatty acids, green tea, lemon balm, and kava kava. Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda that has been used for years to relieve stress. Several studies have suggested that this herb appears to help lower levels of stress hormone cortisol in the body. Ashwagandha is gaining popularity as a treatment for anxiety and stress across the world.

Light a scented candle or use essential oils

Aromatherapy is another simple way to relieve anxiety and stress naturally. Aroma inhalation could increase contentment, decrease levels of cortisol, lift your mood, and make you feel calmer and more energized. A study that appeared in the Journal of Advanced Nursing revealed that aromatherapy helped intensive care patients to feel less anxious and more positive immediately. Next time when you feel stressed out or tired, light a candle or use essential oils like lavender to benefit from the relaxing effects.

Cut your caffeine intake

Small to moderate amounts of caffeine may help lift your mood and give you a boost, but high doses can elevate cortisol levels and increase stress and anxiety. Caffeine craving can also cause you to lose sleep and feel more stress. Also, avoid caffeine after 2 pm (second half of the day) so it doesn't affect your sleep. Take note, caffeine can stay in your system for eight hours or longer. Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks.

Laugh out loud

Laughing is good for your health, and it also a great natural remedy to relieve stress. When you laugh, stress hormones go down and immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies rise, thus helping improve your resistance to disease. Laugher also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals that promote an overall sense of well-being as well as help relieve pain. In addition, laughter relieves tension by relaxing your muscles. So, try to find the humour in everyday life, to keep stress away. Watch a comedy show or hang out with friends who make you laugh.

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