PTSD is typically something we hear about after car accidents, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or warfare, but PTSD from a pandemic? That's something I know I wasn't expecting. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. To say last year fits into this definition is an understatement. Collectively, we have experienced events that directly lead to panic, fear, anxiety, depression, insomnia, as well as lockdowns that strained relationships, financial stability, and the economy. Now, as the summer of 2021 begins and with the end of lockdowns and mandates in sight, we must regroup and find ways to recover from our post-pandemic PTSD.
It all began in January of last year with news of the first cases of a new coronavirus in Wuhan. Not long after, news of its spread put the world in a panic, especially in the United States. With stay-at-home orders and lockdowns rolling out across the country, people flocked to the supermarkets in a panic, buying everything in sight. While some purchases like disinfectants and sanitizers seemed rational, others like toilet paper, guns, and ammo didn't seem to make as much sense. The toilet paper shortage received so much attention on social media that a new study concluded the high level of negative social media posts regarding the toilet paper crisis acted as an emotional trigger of public anxiety and panic.
Panic-buying during the pandemic wasn't the only cause of unpleasant feelings and emotions. With "non-essential" businesses shut down in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus, it left many Americans stressed out, wondering how they will pay their bills and provide for their families. Not to mention that they don't even know if they will ever be able to go back to their jobs. The government was eventually able to pass stimulus and relief packages, but this may have been too little too late for too many of us. The damage caused by the stress of this uncertainty has left some of us with lingering effects.
We know from our previous research that stress is a state of mental or emotional strain caused by harmful or adverse situations. This strain causes a chemical reaction of stress hormones that produce physiological changes in the body, allowing us to handle and adapt to stress in small amounts. However, when stress is chronic and long-term, it takes a toll on the body. So much so that it can contribute to high blood pressure, promote the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and cause brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction. No wonder so many people are currently struggling with these issues.
A study published last year shows the pandemic has caused 25% of Americans to experience symptoms of depression. That is almost three times what the number was before the pandemic began. Lower-income, having less than $5000 in savings, and having exposure to more stressors were associated with a greater risk of depression symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Depressive symptoms have more than a mental effect on our bodies. Physical effects of depression include weight fluctuation, chronic pain, heart disease, inflammation, and trouble sleeping.
A meta-analysis from a study published earlier this year shows the prevalence of sleep problems during the COVID-19 pandemic is high and affects approximately 40% of people from the general and health care populations. Insomnia can affect our memory and concentration. Chronic insomnia raises our risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, demonstrating how COVID-19 seems to find a way to negatively impact our health whether we become infected with the virus or not. That means there is a long road to recovery for all of us. All we need to do is figure out the best place to start.
In the past, we have covered natural methods of relieving stress, anxiety, and depression that cause insomnia. Many studies have shown the benefits of various breathing methods for stress relief. For instance, slow breathing techniques activate the tranquility center of the brain. Researchers identified a handful of nerve cells in the brainstem that connect breathing to states of mind.
Breathing exercises are not the only physical activities that help with stress. Simple activities like a walk outside can help to reduce stress levels. For those who like to kick things up a notch, running seems to take this stress relief to a whole new level! Many experts believe that exercise is the closest thing to a miracle drug.
Miracle drug?! While that idea sounds the most desirable, proper self-care practices including, breathing exercises, physical activity, and nutrition, will be our miracle. We don't offer any miracle drugs, but the relaxation, digestion, and recovery blend found in Organic Superfood Golds show off mother nature's natural ability to soothe our bodies. This blend will help you unwind after a long day and promote a night of deep, restful sleep. Organic Superfood Golds can help your body heal and recover from the vigors of life, including your post-pandemic PTSD, while you sleep.