It doesn’t matter where in the world you are right now, you are probably facing Covid-related risks on some level. The severity of the pandemic has been consistently varying from place to place, but in most countries, people are still being warned about the risks.
It’s unfamiliar ground for most of us. Having to work from home, not being able to see our friends and family, only venturing out for journeys that are absolutely necessary and wearing a mask on said journeys, are very substantial changes.
And while there are absolutely necessary restrictions that have been implemented because this virus is very serious and has already claimed the lives of over a million people, the Covid era has been a difficult thing to acclimate to.
For some people, it’s been a relatively smooth transition. Many are viewing it as an opportunity to be creative or to catch up on reading and are appreciating the extra hours in bed they have due to being able to work from home.
But there are others who are facing severe loneliness and frustration. And I think it’s safe to assume that we all have some level of anxiety just about the actual illness itself and how we or the people we care about could be affected.
So if you are suffering from anxiety, you should probably work to overcome it now because we are probably going to be dealing with this virus and the subsequent restrictions that come with it, for months to come.
Here are a few things you can do to try and fight off the anxiety:
Help from nature – anxiety remedies
If you’re looking for natural anxiety remedies, there are several herbs, supplements, vitamins and oils that can help.
- CBD oil. CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant. The oil has a calming effect and can help to reduce anxiety. CBD oil is usually taken as a tincture or capsule. CBD is a chemical found in cannabis plants that have been shown to have numerous potential therapeutic benefits, including the ability to reduce anxiety. CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating a variety of functions, including mood, appetite, and sleep. CBD can help to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality in people with various conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD). Researchers found that CBD was able to reduce anxiety levels in people with SAD by up to 50%. CBD is generally well-tolerated, but some people may experience mild side effects, such as fatigue, diarrhoea, or changes in appetite. If you’re considering trying CBD for anxiety, it’s important to speak with your doctor first to ensure that it’s safe for you and won’t interact with any medications you’re taking.
- Magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that’s involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It’s also been shown to be effective in treating anxiety and depression. A review of research found that magnesium supplementation can reduce anxiety symptoms, including panic attacks. There are many different ways to take magnesium, but one of the most effective is through magnesium glycinate. This form of magnesium is well-absorbed and has been shown to be helpful for anxiety
- Probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that are found in fermented foods or supplements. They’re often called “good” bacteria because they can help improve gut health. Probiotics have also been linked to reduced anxiety and depression. One of the most popular is Lactobacillus acidophilus. This specific strain has been shown to be helpful for anxiety
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat that’s found in fish and some plant foods. They’re known for their anti-inflammatory effects and have been linked to a number of health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to be effective in treating anxiety. There are many different omega-3 supplements on the market, but one of the most popular is fish oil. Fish oil supplements typically contain both EPA and DHA, which are two of the most important omega-3 fatty acids.
- Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that’s found in foods like turkey and cheese. It’s also a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to play a role in mood and anxiety. A review of research found that tryptophan supplementation can reduce symptoms of anxiety, including panic attacks. Tryptophan supplements are typically taken in the form of 5-HTP. This is a compound that’s converted into serotonin in the body.
- Vitamin B. Vitamin B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that play an important role in many biochemical reactions in the body. They’re also essential for proper brain function. Some research has shown that vitamin B6, in particular, can be helpful for anxiety. One study found that supplementing with vitamin B6 can reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which is often accompanied by anxiety. Vitamin B12 is another important vitamin for anxiety. This vitamin is essential for proper brain function and has been shown to be helpful for anxiety and depression.
- Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is a herb that’s traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety and stress. A review of research found that ashwagandha supplementation can significantly reduce anxiety symptoms. This specific extract has been shown to be most effective for anxiety relief.
- Chamomile. One of the most well-known herbs for anxiety is chamomile. Chamomile tea has been used as a natural remedy for centuries. Chamomile oil can also be used in aromatherapy. The herb has a calming effect and can help to reduce anxiety.
- Lavender. Lavender is another popular herb for anxiety. It’s often used in aromatherapy and has a calming effect. Lavender oil can be added to a diffuser or used in massage. The scent of lavender is known to help promote relaxation and reduce stress.
- Valerian root. Valerian root is a herbal remedy that’s often used to treat insomnia. It can also be helpful for anxiety. The herb works by promoting relaxation and helping to ease tension headaches.
- Passionflower. Passionflower is another herb that’s been used to treat anxiety for centuries. The herb has a calming effect and can help to ease symptoms of anxiety. Passionflower is often taken as a tea or tincture.
- Kava kava. Kava kava is a herbal remedy that’s native to the Pacific Islands. The herb has been used to treat anxiety and insomnia for centuries. Kava kava works by promoting relaxation and helping to reduce stress.
Lifestyle – know how to stay safe
Realistically, this shouldn’t be something that we still need to talk about but it’s becoming increasingly clear that many people don’t know what steps they should be taking to prevent themselves from getting sick.
Yes, these restrictions are difficult to cope with, but if you want to take this seriously you need to be strict with yourself and follow just a few important rules. First and foremost, of course, stay at home.
Unless your job is an essential service, work at home and don’t go anywhere unless it’s necessary. Try and get your groceries delivered, don’t go shopping for anything like clothes or furniture and minimize meeting up with friends.
You should still go out for walks, of course, fresh air and exercise are important but try to do so in quiet areas and if you find yourself among large groups of people, be sure to put your mask on. Same deal if you are still working, wear a mask and use hand sanitiser.
It can seem like a lot at first, but the more you work on building these precautions up as habits, the easier they will be and the safer you’ll feel. If you are diligent with yourself, you can be confident you won’t get sick.
- Ensure you and your family are protected. In the eventuality that you do get infected, which probably won’t happen if you’re careful but there is never a guarantee, you still shouldn’t panic too much because the majority of people do actually survive this virus. If you are healthy and young, you should be fine and even if you’re older you can survive with the proper medical attention. It’s getting this medical attention that might prove difficult. If there was ever a time to make sure that your health insurance is in order, it’s right now. The likelihood of you not getting effective treatment for this are unlikely unless you live in an area where the virus is uncontrollably rampant, but you don’t want to end up being personally overcharged because of it and that’s why protection is important. If you’re over the age of 65 or you have relatives who are, you are at a much higher risk but you are also eligible for medicare and you should take full advantage of that right now. Check out some of the supplement plans available too to maximise your protection. This is extra stressful because there’s money involved and especially if you’re in the US there is a ton of controversy around access to health insurance but it’s something else that can ensure peace of mind for you.
- Maintain contact with loved ones. Loneliness will be a big contributor to anxiety, especially since it’s impossible for us to tell just how much longer we’ll have to keep ourselves at a distance from others. Being away from those we care about doesn’t get any easier with time. Which is why we have to try to keep in contact as much as we can. Send regular texts and have regular phone calls with friends and family, especially our elderly relatives who will be especially affected by loneliness in these times. And also put services such as Zoom and Skype to good use. Once you get used to these video chats it can feel almost like you’re in the same room as your friends and family. It would be nicer if you were in person, but video chats can still be great. And there are some advantages to it. You don’t have to get dressed up to go out, in fact, you don’t have to get dressed at all. You could do it in your pyjamas and no one would complain. And when you’re done, you don’t have to walk home, you’re already there. There’s no good time for a pandemic, but this is probably the best time in history because in 2020 we are eternally connected.
- Keep yourself distracted. Being stuck at home doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything fun. There are an infinite amount of films and TV shows to watch, books to read and video games to play, but you can also use this as an opportunity to discover new hobbies. You could take up gardening, arts and crafts, DIY, writing, baking, and the list goes on and on. Boredom and a lack of direction can cause stress, anxiety and maybe even depression in some cases, and it may feel like you’re limited in your options but you really aren’t. Try as many different hobbies as you can, you’re bound to enjoy one and you might even find yourself with not enough time in the day to fit in as many new activities as you would like.
Dealing with anxiety will be easier for some than others, but there are lots of ways you can ease it for yourself. Be patient with these things too, they might not work straight away but if you keep at them, you will eventually feel better.
Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.