Is working at home making you anxious?
Occasional anxiety is perfectly normal. After all, if we didn’t feel concerned about our environment, then we wouldn’t be careful while crossing the street or choosing what food we eat!
Anxiety becomes an issue when that feeling of panic is excessive, intense and persistent. It can even lead to panic attacks – repeat episodes of overwhelming fear or terror that reach a peak and then subside.
Common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling like there’s always danger on the horizon
- Rapid heart rate and/or hyperventilation
- Increased sweating
- Always feeling nervous, tense or restless
- Frequent bouts of fatigue
- Problems concentrating
- Being obsessed with worry over situations beyond your control
- Digestive/gastrointestinal problems
Why lockdowns cause anxiety and depression
Humans are social creatures that have thrived on interaction with others in order to communicate, organize and build our cities and communities.
While “alone time” is usually a good thing, humans are simply not meant to live in isolation for long periods. From a neurochemical perspective, our psychology depends mainly on human relationships to fulfill emotional needs so we feel loved, protected and appreciated.
Making the matter worse is the lack of sunlight and fresh air. Oxygen is required for the body to function – particularly the brain. Extended mask-wearing – especially when alone – puts unneeded pressure on our respiratory system to sufficiently pump oxygen to the parts of our bodies that need it.
Anxiety and depression affect our ability to work
Working from home requires a new set of skills rooted in organization and planning. It also requires increased focus and concentration – especially for people that have children.
The lockdowns have compounded the problem due to the increased anxiety that keeps the mind in a constant stressful state. Whether work is analytical or creative, the brain needs to be in a relaxed state in order to function properly.
Check for medical causes of anxiety
If you have many anxiety symptoms that reduce the quality of your life, you may need to see a doctor. Some medical conditions associated with increased anxiety include:
- Thyroid issues such as hyperthyroidism
- Heart disease
- Drug misuse or withdrawal
- Withdrawal from alcohol or anti-anxiety medications
- Respiratory issues: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma
- Frequent mask-wearing causing respiratory issues
- Chronic pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Tips to combat anxiety when working from home
While there is not much we can do on an individual level to deal with lockdowns, there are measures we can take to manage stress and avoid burnout while working from home.
1. Have faith that it won’t last forever
Keeping people indoors leads to severe problems such as increased suicides – more than COVID-19 in some cases – and devastating economic issues. Coupled with overdoses and rising mental health issues, the problems being created by the lockdowns must come to a political resolution at some point.
2. Avoid mask-wearing while alone
The use of a mask blocks airways vital to oxygen transmission to the brain. Lack of oxygen can and will cause anxiety if continued long term. There is also no need to wear masks when alone because coronaviruses rarely spread through surfaces.
3. Go outside as much as possible
Try to take a break and get outdoors as often as you can, preferably in areas where there is greenery. Make sure to stop and take deep breaths to calm your nervous system.
4. Stay connected with friends
While not working, turn notifications on and stay connected with family and friends. It may not be a substitute for actual interaction, but it can help you establish a feeling of connection.
5. Eat food to support your brain
There’s never been a more critical time to support your brain than right now. Make sure to supplement your diet with fish, butter, walnuts and other brain-friendly foods.
Nootropics can help relieve stress and anxiety
Nootropic supplements can lower stress and bring back balance to your body. Besides a healthy diet and exercise, supplementation helps support a holistic lifestyle by providing a needed boost that can add value to a healthy diet.
Rhodiola Rosea is a safe and natural traditional medicine commonly prescribed to reduce fatigue and exhaustion. Along with helping the body combat any stress symptoms, it can also help address chemical, biological and physical stressors in our environment.
Stressful times call for time and tested solutions. As a part of traditional Indian medicine for many generations, Ashwagandha can help treat stress and anxiety while helping the body re-establish balance. Along with providing these stress-reduction benefits, ashwagandha has also been shown to help balance blood sugar while improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation.
Working from home can cause anxiety due to isolation, however if symptoms persist it is a good idea to visit a doctor to rule out medical issues.
Take frequent breaks to breathe – anxiety is often caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. Also make sure to keep your blood sugar balanced and to maintain an exercise regimen.
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