How to Fight Anxiety While Improving Your Health
Are you feeling stressed about COVID-19 and the measures we need to take to stay healthy? Believe it or not, that stress could be one of the factors taking the biggest toll on your immune system.
Countless studies have been conducted that all came back with the same response: ongoing stress, even if it’s mild, suppresses the cell production that helps our body fight viruses and bacteria.
Our team at First Dental Associates has come up with 7 strategies that you can incorporate into your weekly or daily schedule to manage your stress and boost your immune system.
Read on for our top 7 stress management activities that will help put your mind at ease and get your body in tip-top shape.
1. Video chat with loved ones.
It’s wonderful that we can now head over to a friend’s house or host a family dinner. And thanks to modern technology, we can also spend quality time together even when staying home. Free apps such as Apple’s FaceTime or Google’s Hangouts allow us to talk face-to-face with friends and family across the globe!
If you can’t catch up in person, set up a weekly video chat with your loved ones. That way, social time doesn’t start encroaching on your work or parenting schedule and you still get the stress relief of sharing a laugh or a cup of tea with some of your favorite people.
2. Read uplifting books.
Reading is a great way to relax the mind and enter a space other than the one you’re inhabiting. Choose books that increase your empathy, make you smile, or remind you that people are capable of making the world a better place.
We may feel like we’re being bombarded with a constant stream of negative news. Picking up a fantastic, uplifting book is a great way to remind ourselves that things won’t always stay this way and help us to maintain a positive mindset. We recommend books such as Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights or The War for Kindness by Jamil Zaki.
3. Use yoga as a stress management tool at home—or free.
Whether you usually attend a weekly yoga class or you’ve never done yoga in your life, there are tons of free yoga classes available on platforms like YouTube. We’re head over heels for the “Yoga with Adriene” series!
Adriene makes videos for beginners, experts, and even kids, so the whole family can practice body mindfulness. Yoga is a great stress management activity that also helps get the blood flowing, which is a great way to boost the immune system.
4. Get into a new “headspace”.
Try the meditation app, headspace, and see how just a few minutes of meditation every day can lower your stress levels and help you feel mentally refreshed.
While this app does have a cost, you can give their free trial a shot before making the financial commitment. You just might find that paying a few dollars a week for this amazing guided meditation program is worth it!
5. Take good care of your oral health.
As we mentioned earlier, stress and immunity can become a vicious cycle. You want to stay healthy so that your immune system is working in full gear, but this fixation on health causes stress. In turn, your stress negatively impacts your immune system.
One of the best ways to combat this particular strain is to take simple measures to boost your health. Did you know that having a good bill of oral health does more than brighten your smile and improve your breath?
Oral health is directly connected to your overall health. A build-up of plaque on the teeth and gums becomes a breeding ground for bacteria which causes inflammation of the gums. Inflammation is your body’s way of signaling to the immune system that the inflamed area needs special attention, which means your immune system is busy fighting that localized bacteria and can’t focus as closely on the rest of the body.
Avoiding this outcome is simple! Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes, scrubbing the fronts and backs of every tooth as well as your tongue. Follow your brushing routine with thorough flossing and finish it off with an ADA-approved mouthwash to knock out any remaining bacteria.
6. Eat foods that make you feel good.
What we eat has a direct impact on our overall health and our mental health.
Eating foods that are high in carbs and sugars gives our mind and body short bursts of energy followed by a crash that leaves us feeling sluggish and down. When you replace those foods with clean proteins and nutrient-rich fruits and veggies, you stabilize your energy and thus your mood. Plus, you send tons of vitamins and minerals through your body that help to maintain the production of white blood cells which act as your immune system’s sidekick.
7. Head outdoors for stress management.
Now the beautiful summer weather is here, it’s important that we step outside and soak up some mood-boosting, stress-fighting Vitamin D.
Go out in the yard and read a book in the sun or tend to your garden. Take a walk around the neighborhood, making sure to give your neighbors ample room to pass!
It might feel like we’re at a slight stand-still right now. Seeing that nature carries on is a great way to feel at peace and remind ourselves that this, too, shall pass.
Stress management activities keep your mind and body healthy.
This is a stressful time for all and it can be hard not to get caught up in the negative. Practice stress management activities on a regular basis to improve your mood and, in turn, boost your immune system. Talk about a win-win!
We encourage you to take great care of your oral health and we are thrilled to be able to welcome back our patients. We have a new appointment protocol to ensure your safety during this time. To book an appointment visit our contact page or call our office phone number.