By: Andie Horowitz
As days pass and we get closer to Summer 2021, the world is starting to see a change of pace: with pandemic restrictions loosening, indicators of normalcy are coming back into our daily lives. And while this progress brings numerous exciting opportunities back onto the table, many face increased feelings of post-pandemic burnout due to a blurred work-life balance. This mental exhaustion can manifest in different, mischievous ways, with people experiencing heightened generalized anxiety, feelings of mental fog, and other indicators of high stress levels, such as insomnia or breakouts.
These overwhelming feelings, whether physical or psychological, all make sense. We have endured significant, unpredictable change within the last year and a half, and anxiety from this may both linger and compound. But take a deep breath — we have your back. Instead of spending more mental energy researching how to best approach these symptoms, we compiled a list of natural (and mostly free!) stress relievers, all grounded in scientific research, to best combat your post-pandemic burnout...
We know you’ve heard it before, but there’s a reason why it’s everyone’s go-to suggestion for stress-relief: it works. And the best part? Exercise — in whatever capacity you may choose — helps symptoms of burnout. Whether you’re going for a jog or taking a yoga class, getting your body moving releases endorphins, lowers stress hormones, and improves sleep quality. The result is in an increase in your overall mental health and wellbeing. With this in mind, remember that exercise doesn’t have to be incredibly strenuous for it to have positive effects, and an afternoon walk isn’t just a good quarantine activity.
02. Mindfulness and breathwork
Sometimes anxiety can get so intense that we find ourselves lost in our worries about the past or the future. During these moments, grounding ourselves back to the present moment can seem like a strenuous task within itself, invoking the fear that trying to do so will only lead to further stress. But do not let this misguided assumption fool you — mindfulness is often imperfect, involves practice, and has been proven to work wonders in alleviating anxiety.
There are numerous ways to practice meditation, with the app store offering multiple successful platforms like Calm and Headspace to help guide you through your practice. And if mediating is too daunting for you, try your hand at breathwork to get yourself started. There are numerous techniques in approaching breathwork (all of which involve little time commitment), so peruse around until you find one that works well for you.
As an adaptogenic wellness brand, we recognize the scientifically-back benefits that natural remedies can have on stress-relief. In particular, there is substantial evidence around supplements like ashwagandha, green tea, and omega-three, in their abilities to combat everyday stressors. Ashwagandha in particular, as been studied to lower cortisol levels (the body’s stress hormone). When taken regularly with the recommended dosage, these naturally occurring elements could be just what you’re needing.
Who doesn’t love the comforting smell of a candle at the end of a hard day? Maybe the collection of essential oils I have in my room indicate a larger infatuation with fragrance, but it’s a good obsession to have when it comes to stress-relief.
According to multiple studies, aromatherapy and its many forms (candles, diffusers, incense, and essential oils) can have a significant effect on lowering stress levels. Now, not only do you have an excuse to buy that candle you “don’t need,” but you can do it guilt-free and with way less stress.
05. Emerging remedies
There’s always new, trendy remedies coming to the forefront of anti-anxiety discourse. While more information is typically needed to prove effectiveness, research and testimonials have given the following stress relievers the attention they might deserve.
CBD is a great example, as some studies have shown substantial effects in decreasing anxiety-related symptoms. Weighted blankets also pose evidence of helping with anxiety, as advertised as an extension of deep touch therapy. Just be aware that much of this craze is centered around consumer satisfaction, and more research on weighted blanket’s efficacy is necessary before jumping to definitive conclusions.
We're in this together
Post-pandemic burnout is tough, especially if you’ve never experienced feelings of generalized anxiety before. When faced with the challenges this quasi-funk may pose, we have to keep in mind that there are options to help minimize the stress. And when we collectively recognize that we’re going through these obstacles together and when we take the proper steps to help ourselves, we get one step closer to a brighter day.