Normal? After over a year of being hypervigilant during a pandemic, I’m no longer sure I remember how normal it works. Do you?
Now that the CDC says that fully vaccinated people can begin most of the activities we did before the pandemic, there is an unusual level of stress that many of us are experiencing. The stress of the normal. Let’s look at a few things about this stress and see what we can do to feel a little better about ourselves.
Life without masks makes many people uncomfortable. When we are fully vaccinated, the mask is no longer as necessary in most situations as it was before, but if it makes you feel more comfortable then keep it on. Even if you are fully vaccinated, it is perfectly fine to keep wearing your mask if it makes you feel less stressed out. Of course, certain companies and workplaces may still require masks, so it’s best to have one with you anyway.
Accept that you are stressed out. Don’t try to deny that you are feeling stressed. Any change, good or bad, can come with stress. As much as we try to avoid it, life can just be stressful at times and it is best to acknowledge it and talk about it. Talk to your doctor and also consider starting a meditation practice. Many doctors and therapists will suggest incorporating mindfulness exercises into your daily life. I suggest keeping a daily gratitude journal listing the things you are grateful for each day. I also find that practicing loving kindness is a great way to balance a stressful time. If you’d like to give this practice a try, I’ve recorded some guided meditations on the Insight Timer app that you can try for free.
Support your adrenal glands. When we are under stress, our adrenal glands can suffer. These important glands are involved in our stress response, energy and focus. I recommend supplementing with a blend of adaptogenic herbs like holy basil, ashwagandha, rhodiola, and others. Some adaptogenic supplements are more calming. Some will be more stimulating. Talk to a knowledgeable health food store representative to see which product will suit your needs.
Practice good sleep hygiene. Sleep and stress go together. If we don’t get a good night’s sleep, we are likely to be more stressed. Set a sleep time and stick to it as best you can. Prepare your brain and body for sleep. Turn off your screens just before bed, read a chapter in a book, or meditate for a few minutes instead of playing another episode. I also recommend taking a nightly magnesium supplement to aid in deep sleep.
At this point, “normal” is a change, and our brains are not as capable of changing. It’s okay to be stressed out. It’s okay to go slowly. Life has been strange for so long that maybe getting back to normal is even stranger, and that’s fine. Go at your own pace. Do what feels safe to you. Stress is stress, and even if it feels a little silly or strange to be stressed out to get our normal daily routine back, your stress is still valid. Sleep, be mindful, support your adrenal glands, get vaccinated if you haven’t, or at least speak to your doctor about it if you have any questions or concerns. We are all involved together, even if we all proceed at our own pace.
Travis Lemon is a certified herbalist and co-owner of Tulsi at The Market in Huntington. He has been in the natural healing and wellness industry for over 14 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.