Many people are feeling burned out, exhausted and overwhelmed. We are going on over four months since the world had to shut down due to the new coronavirus. Chronic stress can take a toll on adrenal health, the organs responsible for releasing stress hormones. You can think of cortisol and adrenaline as your fuel for your gas tank. Every time there is a stressor, these hormones get released into the bloodstream creating alertness and awareness, getting you prepared for battle. The problem is if this stress response continues it becomes more chronic. Over time, your blood sugar can stay elevated, and your body is stuck in "Fight or flight" mode unable to fully relax.  

To prevent burnout during a long-term stressful time period, you need to focus on self-care. The problem arising for people is they have a decreased amount of coping strategies right now, so it’s important to look for new habits to manage stress. You can listen to music at home, have a backyard movie night, take a bubble bath, walk around your neighborhood, or garden. 

The amount of overload from social media and the news is contributing to people feeling overwhelmed. Try to put your phone down for a few hours and give your mind a break. Practice breathing and something relaxing that allows your body to rest. Make sure you are sleeping at least seven to eight hours per night and drinking plenty of water. Sugar can contribute to stress, so put the junk food down and get healthy. This is not a time to lose sight of physical or mental health, make sure you are taking care of yourself during this uncertain time.

Dr. Allison Apfelbaum is a Naturopathic Doctor at Tree of Health in Woodinville

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