By: Jennifer Fletcher, FNP

Let’s admit it, almost every American deals with stress on a daily basis.  It is often overwhelming.  I would say that 25% of my patient visits are regarding stress, anxiety, and depression.  I have noticed these numbers drastically increase

since Covid.  Is it related to having Covid disease, i.e., long haulers syndrome, or the stress of our nation shutting down?? Probably a combination of different factors, but it certainly affected our nation’s mental health.  Health care providers/workers are not an exception.  Health care burnout is skyrocketing.   

The following are ways that I use to reduce stress, see how they work for you!

  1.  Walk/jog around your neighborhood or your favorite trail.  On days that I don’t feel like “exercise” I often take my dogs for a 30 min walk around my neighborhood.  Or some of my favorite trails include Tubbs Hill in CDA (just can’t get prettier views!), English Point in Hayden, Centennial Trail/Lakeshore Drive in CDA, Rosenberry Dr./NIC, or Q’emiln Park in Post Falls. 
  2. Getting 30 minutes outdoors on a sunny day.  CDA has approximately 142 sunny days per year.  Take advantage of these days, even on cold ones, bundle up and get outside.  Sunlight to the retina increases Serotonin, that feel good endorphin. 
  3. Using the Calm app daily.  My favorites are “Daily Jay” and “Daily Calm” with Tamera L., typically 10 min.  Do you have trouble winding down and getting to sleep?  Try Calm app “Sleep Stories”, I have found them to be very helpful.  
  4. Have a meaningful conversation with a loved one or friend.  Not necessarily talking about your stresses or how your day went, but listening to someone about their day.  I feel like focusing on someone else really is helpful and distracts oneself from their stress.  Nothing really feels better than listening and understanding others’ daily path.  
  5. Eating healthy food has proven to reduce anxiety and depression.  It’s a joke at my office, “Are you having a salad for lunch Jen?”  Eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables (shoot for 6 daily), lean proteins, and healthy fats help with your mental and physical health.   An occasional cold beer or glass of wine is also shown to be helpful, and studies show it can reduce risks of heart disease and stroke.