9 Natural Ways to Handle Stress & Anxiety During Lockdown
As we enter the UK's 3rd lockdown it’s understandable to be feeling a bit anxious or stressed.
We’ve researched 9 natural ways to lower your stress and anxiety levels and help keep your mental health in check during the long lockdown winter.
1. HEMP EXTRACT
Herbal supplements are an easy way to improve your stress and anxiety levels with minimal changes to your routine.
Hemp is an extremely versatile plant that has many natural compounds which can benefit our health, as a result there has been a recent boom in the popularity of hemp extract products.
Hemp extract induces effects by interacting with receptor pathways in your body. Importantly it has shown to interact with serotnin receptors (You may have heard serotonin referred to as the "happy hormone" because of its ability to improve mood and impart feelings of happiness).
Studies show that hemp extract has the ability to activate serotonin receptors like 5-HT1a, and this activation leads to an increase in mood-boosting serotonin levels. A 2019 study investigated the effects of hemp extract on serotonin receptors in mice and found that hemp extract activated serotonin receptors and resulted in reduced anxiety in the mice.
Ashwagandha is another herbal supplement that has shown impressive potential as a stress-reducer and anxiolytic.
Patients in one study received 300 mg of ashwagandha twice daily for 60 days and had their results compared to patients who took a placebo. At the end of the 60 days, patients who received the ashwagandha experienced a significant reduction in all stress scores measured when compared to the placebo group.
One way that ashwagandha may be able to help you manage your mental health is by regulating GABAA channels, which are responsible for chemical signalling in your nervous system.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an important role in mood, with studies showing that vitamin D supplementation can significantly improve the symptoms of clinical depression.
One of the most effective ways to get your daily dose of vitamin D is to stand in the sunshine; this is because vitamin D can be produced in your skin when exposed to UVB sun rays.
But with the UK most definitely in the middle of winter at the moment, sunshine can be a little hard to come by.
To ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D and keeping your mental health in check this winter, try taking vitamin D supplements.
Increasing your dietary intake of omega-3s is another way that you can help to reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to significantly lower anxiety symptoms, with one study finding that one omega-3 fatty acid called n-3 reduced anxiety symptoms by 20% in medical students during both high- and lower-stress situations.
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5. Green tea
It may seem like an old wives’ tale, but a cup of tea could really work to help you reduce your stress levels, provided it’s green.
Green tea was found to induce an anxiolytic effect in a 2013 study. The study investigated the effects of green tea by feeding green tea extract to rats for 5 weeks and monitoring their behaviour. The results found that the rats exhibited a reduction in anxiety symptoms. Importantly, green tea also increased serotonin turnover in the animals, which is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in healthy mental functioning and feelings of wellbeing.
Next time lockdown is getting you down, be sure to grab yourself a green tea.
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6. Lemon balm
Lemon balm is a type of herb that could help you to keep your anxiety levels low during lockdown.
Lemon balm has been studied for its anxiety-reducing properties, and both animal and human trials support the idea of lemon balm as a useful supplement in the management of stress and anxiety.
To add lemon balm to your routine, you can either drink it as a tea or consume it in supplement form.
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Magnesium is an excellent supplement to add to your routine if you’re trying to keep your anxiety and stress levels low.
Magnesium is an essential mineral because of the important role it plays in helping our bodies function at a healthy level.
Numerous studies have found a connection between magnesium supplementation and anxiety, and a 2010 review found that magnesium holds significant promise as a treatment for anxiety symptoms and disorders.
One way that magnesium may improve anxiety symptoms is through the regulation of neurotransmitters, which play a key role in healthy mental functioning.
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8. Valerian root
Valerian root is a plant that can be purchased whole or, more commonly, as a supplement. Adding valerian root to your diet could help you to keep your anxiety levels low during these stressful times.
Although more research is needed to fully understand the anxiolytic effects of valerian root, it has long been touted as an anxiety reducer, and there is research to back this up.
One study found that 50 mg of valerian root extract taken 3 times a day over 4 weeks resulted in a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms for patients with generalised anxiety disorder. Although, it is important to keep in mind that this study used a small cohort and is from 2002.
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Looking for something to improve your anxiety and stress that will also leave your house smelling delicious? Give aromatherapy a go.
Aromatherapy can help you relax, destress and get a better night’s sleep, all of which can help to improve your mental health. Research has even shown that aromatherapy can significantly improve feelings of stress and help to manage stress levels .
We can’t go anywhere at the moment, so grab some calming aromatherapy oil and give yourself a relaxing spa experience at home.
- Recommended Product: Nay's Lavendar, Jasmine & Sandalwood Massage Candle can be used as a fragrant candle, a massage oil and a body moisturiser - no wonder it's so popular! Shop Now.
The bottom line
We’re all a little stressed and anxious at the moment, understandably so. But with so many natural supplements and techniques that can help you to boost your mental health levels, lockdown doesn’t have to be such a stressful time.