7 Days of Hope – Day 2
by Dr Veerle Van Tricht MD
On Day 1, I discussed the 4 main fears which are keeping us awake at night during this pandemic:
- Fear of dying
- Fear of losing a loved one
- Fear of losing your job
- Fear of a loss of income
Stress causes a drop in your immune system which is exactly what you don’t want at this time. So you should try not to feel anxious or stressed…although it is completely normal.
You might wonder:” What is she on about?”
Let me explain the science behind it. Ready? Here we go:
1 . Any form of stress raises your natural cortisol levels. (in a similar fashion artificial corticosteroids are used by the medical world to suppress inflammation in patients with auto-immune disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, amongst other conditions).
2. Your innate cortisol lowers your immune system, your first line defence against infection .
This makes you more susceptible to infections and can lead to depression, burnout and suicide. It is thought that around 50% of healthcare workers had burnout before the pandemic so you can imagine how these frontline workers are feeling now. Dealing with too many patients, not enough training, not enough PPE and feeling very anxious about their lives and their loved ones. This is a serious problem.
“ So what can I do about this?”, you might ask.
Here is an easy fix for those who are living with others:
Hug your loved ones regularly for at least 30 seconds. This will bring dopamine and other feel good hormones in your body which will boost your immune system and lower your stress levels and cortisol levels.
Imagine you are a gazelle being chased by a lioness in Africa. What the gazelle would do is shake it off because you have adrenaline fight or flight hormones in your body and if we keep this inside our body, it will cause all sorts of problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stomach ulcers, depression and an ineffective your immune system.
So as with the gazelle, we can move and shake it off. Ask your ALEXA to play some dance music and dance like nobody’s watching. “Yeah, baby, yeah!”. Make Austin Powers proud!
Singing raises your feel good hormones like serotonin .
So this is another effective antidote for feeling stressed.
Of course, the number one thing to do to reduce stress levels is get outside for a run or a walk.
Physical activity and moving your body in any shape or form is good for you. Before lockdown we could go and play tennis or football or any other (legal ) activity that you fancied.
Currently every state or nations has rules about outdoor activities which are in constant flux.
So stick with your local guidelines, people.
In the UK, we are allowed to go out for exercise several times a day so we can go for a run, a walk, a bicycle ride etc.
A lot of people are having a problem sleeping because they are worrying about what is going to happen to them, their family and their finances.
Here are a few things you can do to help you to sleep.
I have had burnout in the past and as a medical doctor, I can share with you what worked for me.
- Essential oils can help, I use one called ‘Blue Rose’. It is important to use a good quality oil. Lavender oil is one of the best for relaxing and helping with sleep. Spray the oil around you and inhale and this will make you feel good. Our olfactory system is linked to our emotions so a nice scent is a quick and easy way to feel better.
- Another useful oil is oregano which you can put in your food to boost your immune system. Geranium oil is very uplifting also citrus oils such as lemon and grapefruit. Just put some on your wrist or neck, they can help you to feel happier, more positive and more optimistic.
- Another tip to help you sleep is to listen to music. If you look online, you will find lots of ‘sleep music ’ which you can download and which will put your brain in a relaxed state.
- You could also use guided meditations . Put your headphones on, darken the room and relax and listen to the mediation. I can give you access to my guided meditations. Just send me a message.
You will also find a blog on how to sleep better on my website – https://burnoutexpert.co.uk/10-commandments-of-sleeping-well/
Contact me by firstname.lastname@example.org for one to one coaching. Or for a 15 minute complementary call.
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