Build Your Emotional Foundation
- Jan 10, 2021
- Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Support Your Emotional Foundation in 2021
Worry, Stress, Burnout, Sadness, Low Self-Esteem, Fear, Anger. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have negatively affected many people’s mental health. The emotional turmoil has caused difficulty sleeping, undesirable changes in eating choices, an increase in alcohol consumption or substance abuse, and worsening chronic conditions.
Let’s be real, it is unrealistic to expect certain transformations to occur during a crisis without tending to and allowing our emotions first. Awareness and attention move energy and ideally move it in the direction you desire.
Hold Space For Yourself and Each Other
I see 2021 as a year to hold space for each other (the collective). This means allowing one another to speak from the heart – allowing yourself to say what you need to say, and in turn hearing out the voice of others, without judgment. We all make different choices and are not going to always agree. In fact, it is healthy to disagree and hear other perspectives. Disagreeing does not mean you can’t hold space for the person and at least try to understand where they are coming from. You can only change yourself.
Coping with External Stressors
Ideas for how to lessen the impact of chronic stress:
- Regular exercise
- Nutrient-dense foods
- Adequate Deep Sleep
- Adrenal supportive herbs, such as ashwagandha, holy basil, and schisandra berry.
As you move through your typical day-to-day routine, take stock of your stress response. Does something need to change to help move you from overwhelmed or burnout to a place of resilience and vitality?
Try Meditation. Let this be the Nudge You Needed.
I know what you are thinking ... only a minute? But for me, that's just what felt right. I figured I could start slowly with one minute today, two minutes tomorrow, three the next, and so on.
I began by sitting on the floor with my legs crossed, and palms face up on my knees. I focused on my breath. I was successful for about two breaths before I noticed my mind start to wander. Refocus. Two more breaths … Refocus again.
This pattern repeated itself for the duration of the minute. When I was finished although I didn't notice anything right away, I feel at peace and satisfied with myself at that moment and the time and effort I put into myself. It was a great first step in putting myself first and showing love to myself. I feel connected to myself when I take the time to be mindful.
Ashwagandha and Schisandra Berry for Mood Support
The thyroid and adrenal glands can become run down and exhausted after firing over and over in response to physical or emotional stress, especially if a person doesn’t have the correct nutrition on board to support them properly.
Ashwagandha is a calming adaptogen. It can be used for sleep, stress, mood, and nerves. It supports endocrine function, especially helping the thyroid and adrenal glands. Ashwagandha is shown to support a slow functioning thyroid. It’s great for sleep and is also effective for cloudy thinking and nervousness.
Take ½ -1 tsp per day. I love mixing it with 1-2 oz tart cherry juice. Yum!
Schisandra Berry is a calming adaptogen. It targets those nerves and also supports overall immune system function by shielding it from the deleterious effects of stress.
It is a mild central nervous system stimulant that positively affects work performance and mental activity.
Take 40-80 drops, three to four times per day.
Ashwagandha + Schisandra
I like taking these adaptogens individually and together. This blend supports adrenal gland function and promotes a healthy response to stress. It also supports stamina and energy production during stressful times. Both men and women absolutely benefit from adrenal-supporting herbs.
Vitamin D and Mood
Vitamin D acts on over 1,000 different genes and serves as a substrate for hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone, and estrogen. It’s necessary for serotonin production, which impacts mood, and lower levels of vitamin D can negatively affect neural activity in the brain.
It’s true you can get adequate vitamin D from sun exposure, but unless your skin is exposed or you live on the equator, sun exposure alone is not enough. Up North, the right wavelengths don’t reach you during the winter months.
If you are concerned about toxicity from supplementation, get your vitamin D level tested and consult a physician about the appropriate amount to take based on your blood test result.
Shop Vitamin D3/K2
Uplift Your Neurotransmitters
I love using Neuro-Adapt, which contains natural ingredients, specific amino acids, B-vitamins, and key plant extracts that support a healthy balance of the stimulatory neurotransmitters, mood, energy, and focus.
The Brain Needs Methyl B-12
The body needs vitamin B-12 to make essential things like red blood cells, nerves, and DNA. According to studies, a B-12 deficiency has a seriously negative effect on your brain. According to the Institute of Medicine in Washington DC, between 75-90% of people that have a vitamin B-12 deficiency also have neurological disorders.
Shop Vitamin B-12
Nootropics and Brain Health
The discovery of neuroplasticity has led to the explosion of natural nootropics, aka “smart drugs.”
Immuno-Rejuvenation. New Year. New Mindset.
Food is information for our body. I believe a new mindset will evolve in 2021. Embrace the new paradigm shift of immune-rejuvenation and putting phytonutrients on a pedestal. Read all about phytonutrients and their link to immune-rejuvenation.