The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address
Is there something to fear? Yes.
Covid-19 is dangerous: it is a new virus, with a different infection mechanism unlike other coronaviruses; it is easily transmittable; there is a lack of vaccine; mortality risk is high for certain parts of the population; test kits are not available for everyone; and research about successful pharmaceutical, herbal, and vitamin treatments is lacking. The economic impact due to the need for social distancing is also causing incredible stress for many people.
Should we let our fear consume us? No.
Fear helps to mobilize us toward action, but staying in fear may lead to inaction, cause an inappropriate immune response, and reduce our cortisol reserves. For those with a predisposition for anxiety, it is important to address this underlying condition in addition to supporting the immune system.
Another word for fear is anxiety. The good news is that we know how to treat anxiety.
There are three very important reasons to treat anxiety.
- Anxiety may cause shortness of breath and constriction of the bronchioles. For those with anxiety and asthma, the use of a steroid medicine may further suppress the immune system.
- Covid-19 has a propensity to attack the lungs, causing oxygen deficit.
- Anxiety causes an up regulation of our stress hormones leading to reduced rational thought, reduced healthy sleep, and immune system suppression.
You can improve your breathing and reduce stress during the Covid-19 crisis in a variety of ways:
- Gratitude. By remembering what you are grateful for can improve a poor outlook and reduce overall stress. For example, I am grateful that modern technology allows me to continue to help my patients via phone calls and tele-health. I am also grateful the weather is warming and the spring flowers help remind me that the world is still a beautiful place.
- Practice relaxation through humor, relaxation breathing, exercise, and meditation-type exercise: prayer, tai chi, qi gong, and yoga. As many of you know, I recommend Yoga With Adriene. Her wonderful YouTube videos are easy to follow and gentle, and comply with the social distancing suggestions we are all following. I always feel more relaxed after I complete one of them.
- Exercise. Exercise helps move stress hormones out of the system. Exercise also promotes the endocannabinoid system and reduces inflammation. Exercise in the sunshine also improves immune enhancing Vitamin D levels.
- Practice healthy breathing techniques. These are especially important for asthmatics. See the links below. The two video links below are excellent resources to help promote healthy breathing and induce relaxation. Practicing these techniques would be helpful on a daily basis.
Diaphramatic breathings. Remember: Breathe in = belly out. Breathe out= belly in. Relax the shoulders. If you watch babies, they do this naturally! Click here for diaphragmatic breathing demonstration.
Herbal, Mineral, and amino acid support. To facilitate physiologic relaxation I suggest the following supplements. Some of these products can be found at Dr. Rodgers’ Fullscript site, or over the counter.
- CBD oil. CBD helps promote relaxation and inflammation. Start with 0.5-1 mg and work up to 10-20 mg. Reduce dose if any adverse reactions occur.
- L-theanine. 100-200 mg one to 3 times daily. L-theanine is an amino acid that promotes relaxation. . On Fullscript, look for chewable Gaba-Trex by Neuroscience.
- Passionflower, valerian, hops, lemon balm. On Fullscript, look for Relaxing Sleep by Herb Pharm. This herbal combination helps promote relaxation without melatonin. Can be taken during the day or night for relaxation.
- Magnesium. Take 100-400 mg daily. Choose magnesium citrate, glycinate, and/ormalate forms. Natural Calm by Natural Vitality powder is found on Fullscript and over the counter. Take to bowel tolerance, meaning that you can reduce the dose to the level that does not cause loose stools. Epsom salt baths are an excellent relaxation strategy. Warm water + magnesium both reduce stress.
- For improved sleep: Any of of the suggestions listed above may be helpful. If you need extra help, a little melatonin may be what you need. Best Rest Formula by Pure Encapsulations on Fullscript contains 0.5 mg melatonin, 150 mg GABA, 25 mg L-theonine, and valerian, passionflower, chamomile, lemon balm and hops, all of which act to calm and relax the central nervous system
If you have further questions about how to treat your anxiety, please contact me. I am available for phone or video (Remote Consults). To schedule go to: ttps://www.idnatmed.com/appointment
Remember, as in all things, this too will pass.
Click here to read FDR’s full First Inaugural address.