Covid-19 has continued to impact our lives, and a recent study reveals that it’s affecting more than just our physical health. One in three survivors of the virus experience mental health conditions, the majority being anxiety and mood disorders.
In fact, according to clinical psychologist Avantika Dixit, on a new episode of the NFN Radio News podcast, Covid is having such an impact on mental health that "the whole world is at risk of PTSD."
Dixit is founder of Woke Hero, a social therapy wellness platform, and believes that with anxiety and depression on the rise, inspiring people to take action toward protecting their mental health is an urgent priority.
“As anxiety and depression increases, everyone, especially stressed-out Millennials, need to start playing a concentrated and active role in caring for their own mental health. Now more than ever, it’s imperative to seek out healthy and effective methods to cope with the events going on around us and in our lives,” she says.
Taking care of mental health doesn’t have to mean a trip to the therapist or pharmacy, according to Dixit, who offers four evidence-based natural interventions that are proven to help ease mental stress. Following our her recommendations:
1. A Daily Contemplative Practice Increases Mental Well-Being Just 20 minutes of a daily contemplative practice can help keep anxiety and depression at bay. Activities can be as simple as meditation, breathing work, writing in a gratitude journal, or trying positive visualizations. 20 minutes is just the minimum time needed—but the more time, the better. 2. Good Nutrition Keeps Mind and Body in Balance Cutting sugar and refined carbs, adding healthy vegetables and whole foods, and fasting for 12-18 hours a day can help keep mind and body in good shape. The risk for cognitive damage and dementia increases during the high insulin states caused by too much sugar and simple carbs. We already fast when sleeping; adding four more hours before or after the 8-hour sleep cycle creates a fasting window of 12 to 18 hours, allowing the body to do a metabolic reset. 3. Exercise Maintains Mental and Physical Health 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise creates optimal cognitive, neurological and neurochemical states in the body and releases the BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) responsible for brain regeneration and protection. Strength or resistance training 2-3 times a week triggers brain cells to regenerate while stimulating muscle growth. 4. Good Sleep Can Melt the Stress Away A good night’s sleep is vital for health and keeping the brain's neurochemical balance at an optimum level. Recent studies show that Americans are not sleeping enough. Creating a sleep ritual every night (turning off technology, reading a book, taking a warm bath, or snuggling with a pet before bed), can be a prelude to a perfect night’s sleep.