These are unprecedented times and we are all experiencing stress, in one way or the other, from the effects of the Coronavirus disease! As we send our hearts and prayers out to those who have contracted the virus and to those who have lost loved ones, we also have to be mindful of how the overall stress of this pandemic can have very negative effects on our physical bodies.
If stress is not managed and processed properly, it will remain in your body and manifest as some type of pain, disfunction or disease.
According to the American Psychological Association, (APA), there are 3 types of stress that may be hazardous to your health;
1. Acute Stress,
2. Episodic Acute Stress,
3. Chronic Stress.
Right now, you are, more likely than not, experiencing acute stress. As a practicing chiropractor, I see how debilitating this type of stress can be on your body.
For a woman’s body, it can feel like pounds of pressure being added! Let’s talk about the most common areas that are affected by acute stress and how you can manage this stressful time in healthier ways.
Women usually carry acute stress on their shoulders which leads to intense neck pain. Shoulder pain is one of the top complaints that I get from my female patients and clients and the first question that I ask them is, are you stressed or has your stress levels increased? The answer is yes, 99% of the time!! Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, shoulder complaints have increased dramatically.
Acute stress is usually bought on by negative thoughts, fear and reactive thinking about current events or uncertainty about the future.
For women, acute and intense shoulder pain is usually your body’s feedback loop letting you know that you are taking in more stress than your feminine energy is able to deal with. Left unchecked, this type of muscular distress can lead to low back and hip pain as well.
Migraine headaches are a group of powerful and debilitating symptoms that can be triggered by acute stress. The diagnosis of migraine headaches has also dramatically increased since COVID-19. Migraine headaches usually include intense head pain that can be accompanied with nausea, vomiting, weakness and sensitivity to light and sound.
Women who have a history of this type of headache can easily be triggered but acute stress can induce a migraine headache in someone who has never experienced one before. This is usually a sign that the muscular-skeletal system is being massively overloaded and your body is requiring you to shut down for a while.
Acute stress can also cause distress on your digestive system leading to stomach pain and irritable bowels. This is another symptom and major complaint that is increasing during the pandemic. It is not due to the virus itself but to the massive amount of stress that is pervading our culture at this time. Constant stomach pain is your body’s way of letting you know that your parasympathetic nervous system is being overloaded and that you are not allowing yourself to relax and rest enough.
Remember, negative energy has to go somewhere. Listen to your body and start taking steps that will allow your body and mind to relax and get proper rest.
Here are 7 ways to manage the acute stress bought on by COVID-19 naturally.
1. Diffuse essential oils such as lavender, sandalwood and chamomile in your home as much as possible.
2. Practice deep breathing rituals at least 3 times per day or as needed.
3. Ask for help! Many therapists are available through telehealth during this time.
4. Listen to music that lifts your spirits and make you smile.
5. Have game nights or watch comedies with your family or even virtually with friends.
6. Find a virtual exercise class to get you moving for at least 20 minutes per day.
7. Stretch or practice yoga daily.
I follow Arianna Elizabeth on YouTube and she has an awesome morning flow! It is extremely helpful for shoulder, neck and low back pain and for decreasing stress levels. The cells of your body are listening and you have this opportunity to respond by practicing radical self-care!