Feeling isolated after months of lockdown? It’s not surprising and it can take time to feel ‘normal’ again. Now’s the time to focus on your wellbeing so you can start to feel more positive again.
Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares her tips for easing anxiety, increasing feelings of calm and fuelling your mind to put you back on sparkling form.
Healthy eating tips
When it comes to wellbeing what you eat (and drink) can have a profound effect on how your feel. For example, salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for brain function and help production of brain neurotransmitters, especially those needed for promoting calm. Look for wild Atlantic salmon for the healthiest benefits.
Protein foods such as eggs, meat and dairy produce provide essential amino acids also needed to produce neurotransmitters, especially serotonin and dopamine. Specifically, natural live yoghurt helps feed the good gut bacteria which are essential for synthesising neurotransmitters but also for helping to balance mood.
Berry fruits, which are just coming into season, are rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C, both of which have been studied for their positive effects on brain health and their ability to create calm. So, load them onto your breakfast cereal, top them with natural yoghurt, eat them as a mid-morning snack, or use them in one of the many delicious recipes that abound during the summer months.
Drink your way to calm
Many herbal teas can really help ease anxious feelings and improve your feelings of wellbeing. Top of the list comes camomile, which has been found to stimulate one of our calming neurotransmitters, GABA. Additionally, green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine which has the same balancing effect. And if you’re suffering from a nervous stomach, then peppermint tea is a great digestive aid and calms the body at the same time.
Sipping a warm, milky drink before bedtime is not just a “old wives’ tale” favourite but grounded in science. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan which helps produce the hormone serotonin, needed for balanced mood. It also helps stimulate the production of melatonin, our sleep hormone, so no wonder it’s still drunk by many of us to aid a peaceful night.
Let nature help
Mother Nature not only provides a wealth of goodness in foods, but also offers many herbs and spices that can help reduce anxiety, lift low mood and generally promote good brain function. Hopefully, this will imrpove your wellbeing and help you to feel more confident on first venturing out after lockdown.
The herbs rhodiola, ashwagandha and ginseng are all adaptogenic herbs, meaning they support the body in dealing with stress and can help ease anxiety. Additionally, St John’s wort is a well-known herb that is very effective at lifting low mood without that ‘spaced-out’ feeling, which many people report when taking antidepressants.
The herb turmeric is really hot in more ways than one right now, as research suggests it can help good brain function which in turn stops anxious feelings. Use it liberally in stir-fries, curries and any other dishes that need some additional delicious flavouring.
Nature’s medicine chest always delivers so consider using natural remedies, alongside a healthy diet, to help you feel better connected and able to live life more fully again.