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Self-care in uncertain times


Andrea King

Self-care in uncertain times

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Barbadians need to pay more attention to their mental health now more than ever.

Health experts are currently discussing approaches to manage a nation beset by back-to-back external incidents which have seriously and negatively impacted on its people.

Feelings like worry, fear, anxiety and even anger are the result of loss of income, isolation, the stress of homeschooling, the fear of the unknown, are impacting more on our minds and emotional well-being.

“The mind has so much power over our physical well-being. Mental and emotional stress can lead to physical problems. We all know the impact of stress on high blood pressure, or even that heart attacks can be triggered from highly stressful situations,” asserts Dr Charla Corbin, medical Consultant to the Better Health magazine.

“Do not stay quiet; reach out to friends, family, church, support groups or your physician, and never underestimate the power of exercise and diet. Exercise automatically releases hormones that destress the body and lead to feelings of happiness,” she advises, adding that people should not feel alone at times like these.

Dr Corbin offered a few practical solutions to coping in these uncertain times:

  1. Avoid self-medicating with alcohol, sweets, and processed foods. Find alternative methods of relaxing, drink herbal tea without sugar. There have been several studies which showed the connection between diet and health.
  2. Excess consumption of caffeine and certain stimulants can lead to increased anxiety and insomnia. Stress may often keep you awake at night, worrying about tomorrow. So now more than ever be wary of what you eat and take time to practise breathing deeply. We are often so focused on the next thing we never pause.
  3. Pause and just breathe, focus on your breaths. It can cause a positive physiological response which lowers your heart rate and blood pressure to make you feel more relaxed.
  4. Exercise and stretching helps with blood flow. If you are cleared for exercise by your doctor, start with something small, that you can do in your room. Stretching releases muscle tension and helps with blood circulation.

“A journey of 1000 miles begins with one step”; take that step, just start. Do not wait until tomorrow for something you can begin right now. Regular exercise will change your life, it is not a choice; it is something you must do.

This article is brought to you by Better Health Magazine.