High-Stress Parenting in COVID Times

How daily habits and CBD can help.

By Christopher Gavigan, Prima Founder & CEO

Let’s face it: At the start of any school year, it’s perfectly normal for parents to experience stress, worry and deep concern. As a parent of four school-aged children (12, 9, 8, and 4 years old), I’m very familiar with all the stress-inducing “new normals” that come every fall—new routines, new challenges and new teachers. But this year with the “new normal” of COVID-19 (if we can even call it that!), parenting is so much more dimensionally challenging in a way that fluctuates daily, consuming us with even higher amounts of stress. 

 Then add the compounded new professional realities and demands, like virtual working and endless Zoom meetings, and parents are caught in an endless whirlwind of uncertainty. As the founder of CBD brand Prima, I’m hearing every day from adults experiencing this mode of silent anxiety and continual waves of mood instability that can lead to daily stress, burnout, disrupted sleep and a meaningful, negative impact to our body’s immune system.

During this time, what I’m turning to are simple habits and daily practices—like my early-morning yoga practice, my essential two Prima Daily’s, and focus on radical acceptance (meaning accepting something completely without fighting it, without judging it and without trying to change it, and accepting reality as it is).

This is why I’m focusing on what I have control over in my day-to-day, because even little habits can proactively provide control and more stability: 

  • How much water you drink a day: Roughly half your body weight in ounces is the recommendation for adults.
  • Getting more sleep: We all know that good sleep is good for the mind and the body, and now, more than ever, it’s so important. I highly recommend some CBD and herbal powder designed for a deeper, better sleep.
  • Seeking connection and support: Connecting and sharing with other parents going through similar things can help normalize this traumatic and hard experience and offer some comfort and peace of mind.
  • Deep breathing exercises: These simple exercises can help manage the physical symptoms of stress. I like “square breathing” where you breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, breathe out for four counts, hold for four counts, and then repeat.
  • Hugging your kids and your partner: A simple 10-second hug releases endorphins and is also a form of co-soothing. When you start to feel anxious and uncertain, reach out to your children and hold them tight, feel the weight of their head against your chest and the thump of their heart. 

Beyond the daily rituals, zen infused water and positive mindsets, the truth is that science clearly demonstrates that chronic stress can cause dramatic, negative physical harm to your body and mind—including increased levels of cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, and increase blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease.

Enter the most fascinating discovery in modern physiology in the last 25 years—a new major body system and cellular network called the endocannabinoid system (ECS)—that’s being called one of the most important physiological systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health. Essentially, the ECS is a series of receptors with the primary purpose of maintaining homeostasis—or “balance”—by activating endocannabinoids (when there is an imbalance in our tissues, organs, wherever) to restore the body to its optimal state. Amazing. 

 At this time, modulating our immune and nervous systems’ functioning is critical, and while researchers are still working to fully understand the ECS, we do know that the endocannabinoids and our immune system are intimately connected, and at least two ECS receptors—one of which is found in the immune system—positively interact with cannabinoids such as CBD. With the ECS as the master body balancer, CBD can help us maintain a state of biological balance through supporting our mood, sleep and healthy stress response, all of which contribute to a stronger immune system.  

CBD can be a very powerful tool for supporting our endocannabinoid system to help us manage stress, sleep and immunity—but the quality of CBD matters. So many CBD products on the market are either tainted with toxic heavy metals; don’t contain the amount of CBD that they claim; or aren’t designed to be well-absorbed by the body. Quality CBD starts with a quality source of hemp, and that same commitment to quality must be carried through the entire process—from seed, to cultivation, to extraction and purification, and finally, to how it’s incorporated into a finished product

 At Prima we care deeply about creating meaningful wellness solutions, and our commitment to that level of quality is what some might deem extreme—but for us, it’s table stakes. We developed and designed a comprehensive line with an advanced, experienced team and naturopathic doctor to craft best-in-class functional wellness tools rooted in hemp CBD and focused on purity, potency and efficacy. Every product we produce is in the holistic pursuit of well-being, and this is a philosophy I like to apply to my everyday life.  

 Instead of viewing well-being as a final destination—the end-all-be-all of optimal health—I believe in the constant pursuit of being even better; with our bodies, our relationships and our mindset. I accept that I’m a work in progress and focus on the art of living. I’m not perfect, and that’s OK. Well-being is about adapting to the journey we call “life” and evolving, doing and being.

 This school year looks very different from the last, but if we’re able to prioritize our pursuit of well-being through positive daily habits, self-care, emotional hygiene and connectedness to others, we can hopefully make it a little easier to navigate. Good luck! 

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