We understand that the situation with the uncertainties around COVID-19 can cause significant stress and tension in your life and at home.
But there are things you can do to help during this period. Here I will discuss some strategies I personally use, and then discuss if medicinal cannabis and CBD oil has a role to play.
How Do You Feel?
Reading the paper and listening to the news puts me in panic mode! Everytime I hear about how the virus has spread I feel an uneasy tension in my chest and my alarm bells start ringing. I think about my wife, my children and my community.
What if the virus spreads out of control and our very existence is threatened? What if it affects a loved one who has a certain health condition(s)?
No wonder people are out there panic buying and stocking up on groceries. That is just the natural response we all have internally.
Is This Panic A Bad Thing?
I want to reassure you that the panic you feel is perfectly normal and it is your natural body reaction to anything around you that your mind thinks is threatening your existence.
The only problem is that your mind is not rational about it. It merely sees a potential threat and equates that to a life or death situation and triggers your automatic anxiety response.
This is exactly what anxiety is. An exaggerated response to the cues in daily life which our mind perceives as a life or death situation. It does not realize that picking the kids up 5 minutes late or handing in that work project at the last minute is not life or death! But when in that situation, it is quite easy to feel overwhelmed.
The Importance Of Understanding Your Reaction
Well, the first step to get through these feelings is to recognise and acknowledge that your body is trying to protect you.
Reassure yourself that this response is natural, although unpleasant. It is OK to feel this way. And many people around you are feeling the same way also, even though it may not show.
Look at me. Being a doctor and working through all this, I should know better right? I seem to my patients to be relaxed and at ease. But the truth is I also feel the same way that everyone else does. But I know how to respond to it…
You can see in the image below all the different areas of the human body where medicinal cannabis interacts via the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
The Importance Of Accepting Your Reaction
In our society, we place such a limit on showing perceived negative emotions, such as fear. it is looked down upon – a sign of weakness. We try our best to cover it up and not let anyone see this inside us.
But why? What is wrong with feeling afraid and anxious? Sure it is unpleasant. But so are other feelings, such as anger and sadness. We must recognise that it is these feelings that make us human. Without these feelings, we would be plain robots, going about our day without seemingly being phased by anything. These emotions are what makes you, you! They define us, and are central to our existence and enjoyment of life.
How You Can Practically Help Your Self On A Daily Basis?
There is no doubt that such feelings of worry and anxiety are unpleasant. But there are things you can do to try reduce these uneasy feelings.
- Acceptance – accept that what you feel is normal and it is not something you should hate, but rather something you should understand. Your brain and body is trying to protect you.
- Limit your exposure – we are surrounded in a world where messages and updates are coming at us from all directions. Ads are all around us, the TV is giving us “urgent news” and our news feeds are full of new posts and developments. Work emails pour in. We live on stimulus after stimulus and it is addicting. The uncertainty of what the emails says or what the latest number of cases is an intriguing feeling that is hard to resist.
I truly believe that limiting these episodes of stimulation is good for our brains. We can only deal with so much on a daily basis.
Consider reading and listening to the news just once per day.
- Exercise – keep on moving and doing a form of exercise you enjoy. Not only is this beneficial for your health, body and joints, it is also good at settling your mind and aiding you sleeping at night.
- Develop a goal – use the extra time you have available at home or with your family to achieve something specific. The thought, planning and actively working towards something specific is itself a rewarding experience.
This man in Auckland managed to run a 50km marathon while being stuck at home!
Or it could be something not so physical. Being isolated at home could be a great time to meditate a set period of time daily. Or an opportunity for you to get out a pen and paper and practise the habit of writing your thoughts, joys and struggles down on paper (this is very therapeutic!).
This is not a self distraction method at all. Rather, it is based on the principle that “what we resist, persists”. If you resist feeling stressed and anxious as a response, it will only amplify it more. Rather, your focus needs to shift to something that is not so threatening to your mind.
Can CBD Oil Help?
At the clinic, we have had the honour of seeing how CBD oil can help some of our patients with general anxiety and panic attacks. It does not work for everyone but it has certainly changed some lives, a lot!
While our normal clinic is closed, we continue to see people online through the internet. We are able to prescribe and also ship products via courier, which means you get the entire experience without needing to leave your home.
I look forward to hearing how you manage your self during the epidemic and, if you are on CBD, how it has helped you…