Ways to Relieve Pandemic Stress

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More than a year in, in this COVID-19 pandemic, and probably you’re wondering if you will ever get your normal life back. If you’re living in Utah, here’s some positive news.

Recently, the state announced that case counts have started to flatten, which means fewer people are getting sick of the virus. Moreover, health guidelines have started to loosen. The CDC now allows individuals to be mask-free when outdoors as long as they’re fully vaccinated and not participating in any huge social gatherings.

In the Beehive State, more businesses are likely to open in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, in a survey among all states, Utah ranks 48th among the hardest hit. But no one can blame you if you’re still feeling a lot of stress because of the pandemic. Just in case the usuals—like meditating or journaling—don’t work effectively, consider these x less-conventional stress reduction strategies:

1. Use CBD Oil

Take a trip to get CBD oil in an apothecary. Not only can the drive help clear your head and allow you to enjoy new sceneries, but CBD may help you deal with this pandemic better. CBD stands for cannabidiol. While the source is similar to regular cannabis, this one doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the active ingredient that makes a person feel high. In other words, CBD doesn’t make you feel woozy or out of space. In fact, to qualify as CBD, the law states it should contain no more than 0.03 percent of THC. Otherwise, it becomes a regulated drug.

If you’re having recurring nightmares (which people call COVID dreams) lately, a drop of the oil may give you some good sleep. But even if it doesn’t give you a high, CBD can still relieve stress. In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, those who took an oral dose of 400 mg of CBD reported lower anxiety levels. In other types of research, CBD has shown some promise in alleviating the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If you have chronic pain, CBD may also be beneficial for you. Sometimes when you’re stressed, you find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle: Anxiety makes your muscles tense, while stress makes you more sensitive to pain. When you feel more pain, it may increase your feelings of anxiety. CBD can work like analgesics when its cannabinoids attach themselves to the endocannabinoid receptors in the body.

2. Have Sex

Are you feeling moody and tired lately? Perhaps it’s time to bring yourself back to the bedroom—and have enjoyable sex. Sex can do wonders for your physical and mental health than you likely realize. Besides lowering your blood pressure (although it can increase your heart rate during the action), it can help increase the production and release of different feel-good hormones.

When you cuddle, hug, or become intimate with someone, oxytocin floods your body. Some studies associate this hormone with pleasant memories, positive communication, and that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you love. Sex can also boost serotonin that helps stabilize your mood and enhances your feelings of happiness and pleasure. This reduces your symptoms of depression and anxiety. Lastly, there’s dopamine, which activates your reward system. Overall, these three neurotransmitters/hormones provide you with pleasure, calmness, and happiness that let you cope with stress. What if you don’t have a partner? That’s okay as you can always buy sex toys or learn to pleasure yourself. You will receive similar benefits.

3. Embrace a Tree

Being outdoors in nature can already lower your stress levels. It could be because the skies, mountains, and plants shift your focus away from you. This stops you from ruminating or worrying. Scientists also believe that humans are biophilic—that is, we are born to have a close relationship with nature, and we seek it. But the kind of activity you do in the wild also matters. Take, for example, forest bathing. Also known as shinrin-yoku (since it originates and remains popular in Japan), it involves immersing yourself in the middle of sturdy trees, probably hugging some of them.

In a 2016 research, those engaged in forest bathing experienced slower pulse rates and increased energy and vigor. They also scored low in fatigue, confusion, anxiety, and depression. Trees are also an amazing source of natural aromatherapy. They release phytoncides, which studies show may help decrease inflammation and infection. When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can only do so much. You cannot control how the virus will spread or what variants will appear. Managing it demands community effort and government policies. However, you can regulate how you deal with it, including how much you let it affect your life. You can manage your stress, and your ways need not be conventional, as these three tips show you.

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