“Stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century,” World Health Organization.
In addition to adhering to social distancing measures and quarantine, stress relief may be one of your greatest defenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Notorious for its adverse effects on the immune system, stress engages our sympathetic nervous system and sends our body into “fight or flight” mode. This biological response to assumed immediate danger, prioritizes oxygen to our extremities, decreasing supply to vital organs, as well as leads to decreased production of white blood cells, NK cells (cancer-killing cells), and other necessary elements of our immune defense.
Natural ways to decrease stress and boost immunity
While most of us are at home, it is a great time to take a look at our wellness routines, as well as our stress response, and see how we might relieve unnecessary stress in order to boost our immune function.
Many individuals have found lifestyle changes such as meditation and maintaining an exercise or yoga routine to be essential to overall wellness, particularly stress relief. Eating well and giving your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs to protect itself, is also an important preventative measure to fight off any viral or bacterial infections you may come in contact with.
In addition to diet and exercise, other preventative measures can be taken to support our immune function during times of stress. Taking wellness supplements are an important asset in boosting our immune system, as well as making sure to wash our hands whenever we come in contact with surfaces that could contain harmful bacteria or viruses. In the absence of access to soap and a sink for handwashing, make sure to always have hand sanitizer available to ensure your hands stay clean and avoid touching your face.
As a result of COVID-19 daily life has changed significantly for most of us, and naturally, in response, many of us are experiencing heightened emotional and physical stress.
When we take active measures towards reducing stress and removing ourselves from “fight or flight mode” we allow the body to resume its natural and necessary immune functions, imperative to defense against viruses such as COVID-19. Small steps towards a healthier daily wellness routine have the opportunity to make a vital difference in our immunity both in this time of significant stress and in our bright future when we can resume daily life.