Non-Chemical Tips on how to Manage Mild Anxiety and Depression

During the COVID pandemic, healthcare providers have noticed a huge increase in the number of patients struggling with mood and anxiety disorders seeking relief from pharmaceutical options.

Dr. Adam Livingston, PharmD
+ Dr. Sarah Brill-Morgan, ND

Non-chemical tips for anxiety & mood

During the COVID pandemic, healthcare providers have noticed a huge increase in the number of patients struggling with mood and anxiety disorders seeking relief from pharmaceutical options. What they may not realize is that there are safe and effective natural alternatives for mild to moderate anxiety and depression, and they work by impacting what we call “The 4 pillars of health”: diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management. In this Facebook Live, Dr. Sarah and Dr. Adam discuss non-chemical options to help with anxiety and depression, and we provide specific, concrete tools that you can implement today!

Here is a summary of our “Go-To’s” for anxiety and depression via each of “The 4 Pillars of Health”:

Reducing Anxiety and Depression:

1. Diet:

  • Reduce or stop drinking alcohol
  • Reduce or stop using cannabis (especially products with high-dose THC.
  • Chronic use of high-dose THC can actually cause or worsen anxiety)
  • Avoid inflammatory foods (sugar, dairy, gluten, and alcohol) or focus on uping
  • fruits and vegetables in your diet instead
  • Eat frequently to avoid adrenal activation (eat frequently- every 3 hours or less)
  • Decrease caffeine intake, increase water intake

2. Exercise:

  • Try to do 30-60 minutes of at least walking daily (preferably outside in nature)
  • If capable, increase workout intensity and do 30-60 mins of cardio daily (jogging, biking, HIIT workouts, etc.)
  • “Mindful Movement” can also be helpful (Tai Chi, yoga, stretching, etc.)
  • *Exercise helps to reduce anxiety, enhance mood, and improve sleep
  • Some great options are: Fitness blender, FitON app, Youtube workout videos

3. Sleep:

  • Sleep hygiene is key
  • Especially stopping screens at least 30-60 mins before intended sleep, OR install blue light blocking APP (ex. Screen Shader app on Chrome) or use blue light glasses if you must use a screen before bed
  • Get off the news cycle! News attracts your attention through mainly “bad” news and can make you feel like the world is ending all the time
  • Sleep environment is also important- comfortable bed, dark room (blackout curtains), comfortable temperature in bedroom
  • Sleep Apps with sleep walk-throughs, sleep music, etc. (e.g. Headspace) can be quite helpful as well

4. Stress Management (Mindfulness/Meditation):

  • Some form of breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, etc. can be helpful
  • Adam likes Wim Hof Method in particular- the App is available for free and was very effective for calming anxiety for several months
  • Sarah suggests 5+5 activity – which includes 5 mins of “quiet time” and then 5 mins of free form, no judgement journaling or mind dump
  • Other helpful tools: Insight timer app, Yale free course: Science of wellness

*This blog is not intended to represent medical advice. Please contact a qualified health practitioner if you want to use any natural health products for specific health conditions.

The Speakers

Dr. Sarah Brill-Morgan
Naturopathic Doctor & IV Therapist

With a passion for learning traditional medical practices, Dr. Sarah has had the opportunity to learn from and work with communities in Peru, Ecuador, Honduras and Bali. Through these experiences, Dr. Sarah gained valuable insight from various healing practices and teachers around the world.

She is very passionate about meeting her patients where they are and creating easy, sustainable plans to help her patients obtain their goals. Dr. Sarah’s areas of focus include hormonal health including PCOS, menstrual irregularities and thyroid conditions as well as acute and chronic infections and fatigue.

Areas of Special Interest
  • Thyroid health
  • Hormonal concerns
  • Acute and Chronic infections (parasitic, viral etc)
  • Stress management and fatigue

You can book online with Dr. Sarah Brill-Morgan here!
Follow Dr. Sarah on Instagram! @dr_brillmorgan

Dr. Adam Livingston, PharmD

Clinical Pharmacist, Medical Cannabis Consultant & Deprescribing Program Coordinator

Dr. Adam has helped many patients navigate the complex Canadian Medical Cannabis system. He understands the intricacies of cannabis therapeutics, including forms, ratios, dosages, and interactions with other medications.

As a pharmacist at our in-house medical cannabis clinic, Adam believes prescription drugs can be a useful tool in a healthcare provider’s toolbox. However, for many chronic conditions, they simply aren’t that effective and can be very difficult to discontinue. Adam helps to guide some patients away from harmful drugs such as proton pump inhibitors, benzodiazepines, and sleeping pills through our deprescribing program.

Areas of special interest:

  • Deprescribing
  • Medical Cannabis

You can book online with Dr. Adam Livingston here!
Follow Dr. Adam on Instagram! @beakersandbotanicals