- Over half of Australians state their emotional wellbeing has been impacted by COVID related stress
- Research shows eating vitamin C daily may help support vitality
- Psychologist Jaimie Bloch and nutritionist Teresa Cutter share advice for supporting mental wellbeing this spring
Amid ongoing lockdowns throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the past 12 months has caused significant strain on the mental health of Australians, with over a third stating their emotional wellbeing has been worse than usual, or, the worst it’s ever been (37.9%)*.
General COVID-19-related stress was the biggest culprit for over half of Australians (56.1%), closely followed by health-related stress, family-related stress and financial stress (48%, 47.5% and 45.7% respectively).
However, this is not particular to Australians. In fact, earlier this year the Harvard Business Review identified that 85% of people globally, including Australians, have experienced a decline in their general wellbeing since the start of the pandemic.
With 4.8 million Australians experiencing a mental or behavioural condition, and females feeling the impact more than men as reported in the Australian National Health Survey, Australians are looking for ways to support their emotional wellbeing.
Australian psychologist Jaimie Bloch says she has seen the impact that lockdowns, closed borders and lack of connection this winter has had on people’s physical and mental wellbeing.
“This second year of the pandemic has been felt a lot more intensely by the general population. We are all experiencing pandemic fatigue. 2020 had its own challenges with the emergence of COVID-19 and now 2021 has been much the same with extreme uncertainty and on-off lockdowns.”
“Ongoing exposure to stress, on-off lockdowns and ongoing uncertainty can fuel emotional exhaustion. On top of that, many of us are currently expected to work full-time hours or study-full time at home with limited social connection and interactions. When people work continuously without the ability to recharge and re-energise through holidays, social gatherings or engaging in passions, that’s when burnout strikes.”
Fortunately, Bloch said with spring a natural time of renewal, there are simple yet effective strategies we can incorporate into our daily routines to support and improve our mental and physical wellbeing.
“It is important to focus on the mind, body and soul together when we approach our overall wellbeing. Having a good routine in place for your mind, moving your body every day and focusing on your passions are all great ways to nourish ourselves holistically.”
“Something that plays an important role in both our mind and body is our diet. What we eat provides us with nutrients and vitamins that impact our gut health. When our gut is healthy, our brain effectively sends and receives signals to help our mind and body function optimally. A nourishing diet can improve our
immune system, sleep patterns, motivation, concentration, decision making and ability to manage our emotions.”
“One major source of nutrition that has a positive impact on our mental wellbeing is vitamin C, which contributes to normal psychological function and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.”
This is also supported by research conducted by the University of Otago in 2019 which found that foods high in vitamin C can be linked with greater feelings of vitality. It found specifically that eating two Zespri™ SunGold™ Kiwifruit each day improved subjective feelings of vitality in young adults with low vitamin C levels after just two weeks.
Well-known nutritionist and chef Teresa Cutter said many people are aware their mental wellbeing has been impacted recently and says eating delicious and nutritious meals loaded with vitamin C is a great way to build a healthy body.
“Eating well is not going to solve the world’s problems and substantial issues people are facing during this difficult time, from being separated from family to struggling with financial issues. However, diet can play an important role in supporting one’s mood and body function.
“To help me feel brighter and restore my body when it’s feeling sluggish, I make an effort to focus on foods with vitamin C such as adding a Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit to my breakfasts and even to salads. These provide me with a concentrated source of nutrients that my body loves and helps it function at its best.
“This spring, we’re calling out to all Australians to be brighter by making small changes to support their body function, vitality and positive mindset.”
The health expert shared her top tips for including more vitamin C in spring;
- Snack right. Have fresh and easy snacks on hand to get your vitamin C when you’re experiencing an afternoon slump. Prepare a fresh smoothie to take with you on your travels, or have fruit and vegetables on hand that are easy to eat on the go.
- Fresh meals. Spring is a time for fresh salads. Try to add fruit to your salads to give them a ‘zing’.
- Start your day right. Wake up with a supportive vitamin C breakfast such as muesli with Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit – this will mean you have already met your daily vitamin C requirement before lunchtime.
For more information on the health benefits of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit, visit zespri.com.
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