How financial stress makes you susceptible to viruses and what to do about it.
On your average day, most of us endure a certain amount of financial stress. With the coronavirus pandemic threatening millions and millions of jobs globally, financial stress has shot through the roof. The biggest problem, particularly now, is that any kind of stress creates wear and tear on several systems in our bodies, including our immune system. Managing and reducing your stress levels is crucial if we come into closer contact with the coronavirus. As with any virus, the COVID19 respiratory virus requires a healthy immune system to have a chance at surviving it.
We mostly think of stress as a psychological issue where we are overthinking, worrying, irritable, restless or overwhelmed. However, these mental strains affect the body as well as we experience tense muscles, racing heart, fatigue, insomnia, and lack of appetite. If you are worried about job security, paying bills or your retirement, the psychological stress creates a physical reaction. It channels energy and resources towards your nervous system to help restore your mental equilibrium.
Mental stress leaves your immune system vulnerable and unable to function optimally.
The human body operates on the principle of efficiency, only using what it needs and prioritizing what it considers to be most important. Under normal circumstances, one of the body’s primary focuses is maintaining the immune system as it is the body’s first line of defense against biological threats like germs, bacteria, and viruses. But in times of crisis, your body will go into survival mode and start limiting the allocation of resources. It will direct a lot of energy to your brain to solve the stress associated with financial challenges bombarding it. Your body is naturally resilient. By controlling your stress, you will allow it to focus on what is most important right now: your immune system.
What to do to reduce stress and strengthen your immune system.
- Worry Sessions
Speak to a trusted, positive friend about your financial concerns or even have a self-chat and play both the negative and positive stories. Keep it short. Set a timer. Ten minutes is enough. Vent your worries without overreacting or overindulging. Acknowledge your feelings, but don’t wallow in the negative ones.
- Stay Aware
Be mindful throughout the day. Stay aware of your inner dialogue the rest of the day as financial fear may still arise. Set them aside until your next worry session.
- Breathing (mind/body)
During the day if you feel anxiety creeping up on you, practice deep breathing. Supplying oxygen to the brain is one of the best ways to reduce stress. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and the amygdala (emotional part of the brain) to induce immediate calmness.
No need to run a marathon. And, right now you can’t go to the gym. But you can go for walks in safe areas or set up a spot in your home, connect with an online workout or yoga class. It is important to feel present in your body.
In the era of “social distancing”, we MUST also remember that connecting with other human beings, especially in a time of crisis, is crucial to our ability to remain calm and build stamina for the fight ahead. Reach out on the phone, video chat or speak with someone already in your home. Get the support you need and offer support to others. This helps us to get out of our own head and fear.
- Calm your nerves, boost your immune system.
From essential oils, herbal teas and organic supplements there are countless items on the market today that offer holistic support to your physiology. Research online, ask friends or consult with a nutritionist or medical professional to find the best support for your system’s needs.