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Mental Health and Stress

In the Time of a Pandemic

Regan VanderVeen

Ferris State University PharmD Candidate 2023


Coping with Stress


Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. With the increased stress this year it is important to understand the best ways to cope with your stresses and take care of your mental health. 

  • People with pre-existing mental health conditions or substance abuse disorders are more vulnerable in emergency situations such as a pandemic. Make sure you are aware of your symptoms and report any new symptoms to your doctor or pharmacist

  • Take breaks from reading, listening, or watching news, including social media, repeatedly hearing about everything going on can increase stress and anxiety

  • Take care of your body

    • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals​

    • Get plenty of sleep

    • Exercise regularly 

    • Try stretching, meditating, or breathing exercises to help unwind 

    • Avoid excessive alcohol or drug intake 

  • Keep in contact with friends and loved ones

    • It is normal to feel sad, angry, or frustrated right now during a crisis like this, talking to people you trust can help

    • Even though we can't physically be together there are many other ways to keep in contact such as phone, social media, and zoom​

  • Have a plan for what to do if your or a loved one does get sick

    • Be aware of testing centers in your area​

    • Know where you can go to seek treatment 

  • Look into counseling services such as TeleHealth, which is widely available and can be done from the comfort of your own house

  • Side Effects of Stress and Anxiety to be on the lookout for

    • Trouble sleeping and/or eating​

    • Increased blood pressure

    • Tension throughout the body

    • Headaches

    • Stomachaches

    • Difficulty sleeping

    • Increased worries 

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting any supplements​

  • Lemon Balm

    • Has shown effectiveness in anxiety and stress​ reduction 

    • Clinical research shows that using lemon balm extract decreased anxiety symptoms in patients with anxiety disorders 

    • Research shows that taking a single 600mg dose of lemon balm extract increased calmness and alertness in healthy adults

    • Lemon balm has shown safety when used for short-term treatment (up to 4 months)

  • Ashwagandha

    • Small evergreen shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and part of Africa​

    • Research shows that taking 240-600mg daily for 60 days reduces perceived stress 

    • In some trials taking ashwagadha root 300mg twice daily for 12 weeks reduced patient's anxiety levels

  • Green Tea

    • Some research trials have seen a reduction in stress levels when patients took a specific brand of green tea extract (Teavigo) 300mg orally for 7 days​

  • Valerian 

    • There is contraindication on valerian's effectiveness with reducing anxiety. There was one study that showed a reduction in anxiety in patients with mild anxiety when valerian 100mg was taken three times a day for 21 days​

    • A handful of studies found that taking valerian 600mg daily for 7 days prior to participating in a mental stress session helped decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of pressure

  • Kava Kava 

    • Most studies have found that specific kava kava extracts have relieved symptoms of non-psychotic anxiety far more than a placebo​

    • Kava kava has shown safety in studies when used orally and short term (up to 6 months)

Stop into Cedar Springs Pharmacy for more information on these supplements and pick some up for yourself or your family!

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