Psychological Resilience in a Post-Covid Era
The Covid pandemic has affected us all in various ways. The pandemic and the new post-Coved era that is unfolding is creating multiple stress points in our lives, be it from financial concerns to the softening of lockdown and stepping back out into routines that may no longer be familiar or even fit this new way of living. The rise of anxiety, stress and depression is sadly an inevitable fallout of this pandemic and new research has revealed that those people living and working alone during the pandemic have suffered the worst effects of all.
Much has been made of creating better immune resilience throughout the population to cope with the ever-mutating Covid strains, as well as the potential for future global viral infections. But of equal importance is how we can establish and maintain psychological resilience in our mental health to cope with the changing landscape of our lives. Humans fear change, it’s one of the biggest drivers of stress so how can we shore up our emotional wellbeing?
Covid & Mental Health
Recently reported in the Guardian, analysts examined data from interviews carried out with 8,675 people before the pandemic and in May, July and November 2020. They found that people able to work from home have been protected from financial difficulties that can drive poor mental health. When financial circumstances, loneliness and demographic characteristics were controlled for in the research, however, people working from home, recorded bigger increases in mental distress.
Though working from home, along with all the other lockdown restrictions, may well be lifting on 19th July, officials have still warned that some measures are “likely to be needed beyond the end of the current road map process” to avoid “the likelihood of having to reverse parts of the road map”. And working from home seems here to stay for many people. All of this uncertainty also raises stress levels, contributing to a mental health strain felt more acutely by some, whilst for others, this can contribute to a more long-term heavy stress burden manifesting in an increased risk of chronic disease.
Coupled with this, is the effect the pandemic has had on children and teenagers. Mental health amongst adolescents is a national cause for concern. For more information on supporting mental health in the younger generations see the Nutrigold blog on Children’s Mental Health.
Developing Emotional Intelligence
One of the strategic suggestions extracted from a slew of advice for those struggling through Covid is working on improving the way situations that create unresolved stress are handled. The benefits of this process, known as emotional intelligence (a shorthand that psychological researchers use to describe how well individuals can manage their own emotions and react to the emotions of others) are well known; it’s now recognised as a major and effective part of dealing with life whilst under duress.
According to two different published analyses, emotional intelligence is the best skill to spend time on refining while going through a transition period, especially at younger ages to help with managing current and future stresses. If properly applied, it allows a reaction to feelings to emerge without loss of control and being overwhelmed by emotion.
For more practical information in this area see the Nutrigold blog Surviving versus Thriving.
Psychological Resilience & Emotional Flexibility
There are people that do or at least seem to, cope relatively well with stressful situations, illness, financial concerns and even bereavement. But how do they do it? Is there something that others who cope less well, can learn from them?
The ability to endure and even gain some strength out of adversity could be a real asset in current circumstances. Psychologists refer to this as “resilience” or “emotional flexibility”. Dr Koydemir in her blog explains the concept. The main idea is that resilience evolves from the ability to adapt but also combined with a motivation to pursue one’s purpose and values in life.
It’s okay if you don’t feel positive, there is no shame in that. Acceptance and curious noticing are healthier than trying to make ourselves feel in a particular way. This is the essence of emotional flexibility.
Psychological resilience can also be managed by boosting other positive emotions such as gratitude alongside positive self-talk – this may not come naturally so we have to practice these as conscious actions, but the more we create these moments throughout each day, the more this becomes a subconscious habit. The Nutrigold blog on Psychological Resilience reveals more.
Sleep & Mental Health Resilience
Articles in the Guardian and Telegraph all attest to a sleep crisis fuelled by stress and anxiety over finances, health, bereavements, social distancing, home-schooling etc., the list of changes to our previous routines in life perhaps, forever changed. We also know that poor quality sleep can decrease the effective functioning of our immune system, not something we would want currently.
Natural sleep remedies are becoming increasingly popular as people seek to avoid side effects of sedatives and self-medicating with substances such as alcohol or anti-histamines. For more information on 5-HTP, C*B*D, L-theanine and magnesium see the Nutrigold blog Struggling to Sleep?
Herbs & Psychological resilience
Mother Nature has always provided us with remedies and nutrients that when taken at the right time; the right combination and forms can provide us with extra physiological and psychological support. C*B*D is well documented to reduce feelings of anxiety, especially when associated with trauma as well as improving sleep quality. Ashwagandha is the flagship herb of Ayurveda tradition and has been used for centuries to reduce stress and increase resilience and resistance to “burn out” creating a happier sense of being. For more information on these amazing supplements see the Nutrigold blogs: Get on Your A-Game with Ashwagandha and Health Benefits of C*B*D Oil.
Where Do We Go From Here?
There’s no doubt that trying to fit ourselves back into our old lives and routines from a pre-Covid time is not going to be possible; we need to adapt and create our new personal and collective routes out of this pandemic. Growing our psychological resilience and helping friends, family and others to do the same, is going to help us transition back into a more social and connected post-lockdown life.
Dr Elisabeth Philipps PhD BSc (Hons) BSc Nutr Med AFMCP
Dr Elisabeth Philipps is a clinical neuroscientist and functional medicine practitioner and runs a health consultancy specialising in brain health, the endocannabinoid system and phytocannabinoids including CBD and medicinal cannabis. She regularly presents at conferences and events and provides expert opinion for the national press, specialist healthcare publications and health companies. You can connect with Elisabeth via:
www.drelisabethphilipps.com | Instagram – @drelisabethphilipps | Twitter – @drphilipps | Linked In – Dr Elisabeth Philipps