Mind Your Gut’s Business

by: Danielle Ternyila

So many things changed when this pandemic started, but there were a lot of changes I didn’t even think twice about, until I was in the worst pain of my life every day for months. I finally found a doctor who was able to explain what was happening: my body was stressed.

Like many across the country and around the whole globe, I quickly transitioned to my make-shift home office, and with all my immune-compromised loved ones in mind, stayed the heck home! I shopped groceries online as much as I could, I limited visits to public places and many friends and family members that I used to see regularly. Like anyone else, I was scared of COVID-19.

My quiet little apartment became my cave, and I transitioned like clockwork daily from bed, to the desk for work, to the kitchen for dinner, the couch, and back to bed. Thanks to the lack of places to go, I probably added another year back to my car’s life, but I stopped going to the gym along with it.

A few months after the shut down, and I’ll save you the gory details and just say: I was in horrible pain. My stomach was not right, I woke in the middle of the night every night, and it was nearly impossible to get a full night’s sleep ever. Overcome with a horrible nausea on the daily, I finally found a specialist who knew what it was within the first 10 minutes of my 9am visit, and he swore I wasn’t his first case like this of the day.

More people are experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression than before due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. One thing Dr. Awesome-Sauce strongly believed in was the connection between the mind and gut. When the mind is stressed, it can impact our gut too, as well as then other physical parts of our well-being

My body was under so much stress from all of these little changes due to the pandemic. It was unlike any stress I had dealt with before, and it all came down to this connection between the mind and gut. The doctor explained to me the relationship between the mind and body, and after this, I started prioritizing self-care and taking better care of myself again. Slowly but surely, things went back to normal.

It is so important that we take care of our mental health, or it can start affecting the body too. I knew I was gaining some weight from not working out, but I didn’t even realize how important my time in the gym was for my mental health. Any physical activity, be it running or lifting, tennis or dancing, helps your body relieve the stress you’re carrying.

Simple human connection, and even sunlight, play such an important part in managing our stress! Coming into a year now of this pandemic, make sure you are taking care of yourself. Start taking yourself (or your furry friend!) for a daily walk, make plans to hang outside with your close family or friends, call someone for a gossip hour…. Make sure you are putting your health first and taking time to de-stress! It is so important.

Before I end this I feel I should be honest, and let you all know the truth; the pandemic was my fault. My dog crossed the rainbow bridge at the beginning of 2020, and they all thought I was “just being dramatic” when I said the world would end without her.

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