It’s been quite a year, hasn't it? 2020 was a long drawn-out story about coronavirus, economic disruptions and job losses, political nightmares, social isolation, fear and other worrying emotions. In a word… stress!
According to the American Psychological Association,
- nearly 80 percent of Americans reported that COVID-19 has caused them stress in 2020
- 77 percent of us felt stressed about the future of the country
- 65 percent said the current uncertainty causes them stress
- 63 percent said the economy was also a significant source of stress, up from 46 percent the year before. 
SO WHAT WE CAN DO FOR STRESS RELIEF IN 2021?
Actually there are a lot of things that can help. Let’s trot through them quickly,
Deep breathing. Inhale deeply, right down into your belly. Then exhale slowly. It’s surprising how relaxing and de-stressing that can be. “Inhale calmness, exhale stress.”
Meditation. Go back to a peaceful place you once went to. Or one you haven't been to, but it’s real in your imagination. For me, it’s a river of clear fresh water called Eli Creek on Fraser Island. Its cool, clean waters flow up from underground, every hour delivering 400 million litres out to the sea. During various rough patches of life, I visit Eli Creek in my mind and wash away my tensions and worries.
Step away from stress-inducing TV news. Commercial TV stations want you glued to their channel so they sensationalize their presentations where they can. ‘If it bleeds, it leads’ is an old maxim. All of that adds stress to our lives. Instead I like to watch nature programs (they’re usually calming) and comedies (laughter is great medicine against stress).
Rest and sleep. Even a nap can help.
Relaxation exercises. When you’re stressed, your muscles are tightened up. Lie down to do your relaxation exercises (tense up, hold it for a while, then let the tension go, several times) and notice how your muscular stress is reducing.
Healthy diet. Including fresh fruit and vegetables. Cutting down on your sugar intake is recommended. Also, oatmeal can help your mood. It’s a nutritious comfort food. A complex carbohydrate like oatmeal will boost your level of serotonin, the feel-good neurochemical.
Limit your alcohol intake. Drink plenty of water. Cut out the soda.
Walnuts. What, walnuts? That’s right. An interesting piece in GreenMedInfo.com  shares the results of a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. The study looked at what walnuts and walnut oil (because they contain polyunsaturated fats) do to your blood pressure, both at rest and under stress. The findings? “Their blood pressure and stress responses were lower.”
Go walking. Outside if you can. Even better if it’s in nature, among the trees and birds. Even 10 minutes outdoors “can help reduce the mental and physical effects of stress”  Also, take the stairs. And park the car at the far end of the supermarket parking lot.
Play with your pets. We all love cat videos. (Well, I haven’t met anybody who said they don’t like cat videos.) A pet owner recently told me how much better she feels about her life now she’s got a pet (a dog in her case) which she has to care for, play with, and take for daily walks.
Cheery videos can give us a lift, too. May I suggest you find videos (think: YouTube) about baby animals, flash mob performances, and dancing.
Writing. Some folks find that journaling helps them deal with stressful and worrying thoughts. Get them out by getting them down on paper. This doesn't work for me but it does for some folks. Maybe for you.
Lose yourself in a good book. Amazon Kindle has thousands of ebooks you can download for free, and read on your cell phone or your computer screen. They have a free reading app, too. But how to find what you might enjoy? You can use their massive search engine, or subscribe to a free book-recommending email service. I joined it a long time ago and it saves me having to hunt for books. Each daily email from EreaderNewsToday.com contains a handful, typically 5-9 ebooks, some free, some at 99 cents, others a couple of dollars. You get a brief description of the story and a link to download it. Many of these ebooks are from New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. And you get to choose the categories you’re interested in. Romantic suspense? Historical Romance? Mystery? Christian Fiction? Thriller and Suspense? Sci-Fi?
Get to know some of the positive Facebook groups such as Kindnessfactory and Positive News. Yes, Virginia, there are good people in this world and good stuff is happening. It’s just that you won't see much of it on TV. Or you can subscribe to the Good News Network’s daily email.  Usually it contains 3-5 positive news stories, ones I often don't see anywhere else. It’s good to see the good that others are doing in this world.
Aromatherapy is another option. Some scents reportedly can reduce your heart rate and help you have better sleep.
Herbal teas, according to their advocates, can also help with anxiety and promote better sleep.
We’ve identified more than a few natural remedies, all of which work for some people. But they may or may not work for you. If nothing natural helps you, then a trip to your personal health professional could be a good idea.
NOW, WHAT ABOUT CBD?
For a start, it’s not a pharmaceutical preparation. It’s natural, a non-psychoactive oil (it won't make you ‘high’) that is extracted from a plant that grows in the ground. That plant is the hemp plant and there’s a link in the references list below where you can learn more about the amazing hemp plant.
According to a study by Aclara Research in June 2020, the top reasons for using CBD as cited by the 3,000 consumers they surveyed are:
- pain relief 58%
- anxiety 48%
- relaxation 48%
- sleep 37%
- general wellness 30% 
THREE QUICK EXPERT QUOTES ABOUT CBD
“Recent Studies Indicating CBD may be Better Therapy for Treating Anxiety Than Medical Marijuana” 
"CBD given alone has anxiolytic [anxiety-reducing] properties, particularly under circumstances or in response to stimuli which normally provoke anxiety." This makes cannabidiol (CBD) an attractive candidate for therapeutic treatment of anxiety and fear-related disorders. 
“Cannabidiol: A Potential New Alternative for the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Psychotic Disorders” says “CBD displays an interesting pharmacological profile without the potential for becoming a drug of abuse, unlike THC… Preliminary clinical trials also support the efficacy of CBD as an anxiolytic…” 
HOW CAN CBD HELP ME DEAL WITH STRESS?
Cannabidiol (CBD) helps to support your endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short. Not sure what that is? In the resources section below, I’ve placed links to several informative explanations.
But in simple terms, your body’s natural state is internal balance. Equilibrium, where everything is working right and working together. That’s called homeostasis and it is your ECS that supports and maintains this inner balance.
When you add a whopping big dose of stress, out the window goes your inner balance. Then your ECS springs into action to remedy the imbalance. Remember your ECS is a body-wide network that regulates your biological functions. It does so via natural cannabis-like chemicals called endocannabinoids.
But sometimes, when you’re run down or otherwise below optimum health, your ECS needs a little help. That’s where CBD is understood to act. Cannabinoids from the hemp plant work with the cannabinoids in your body to help restore your inner balance… your health, in other words.
CBD can work on your moods and your muscular tension, it can help you sleep better and recover better from exercise or exertion.
WHERE TO BUY CBD FOR STRESS RELIEF IN 2021
Happily there are various ways to get CBD into your system. As an oil, as a soft gel you pop into your mouth (very convenient!) or as a rub-on cream. Take a look…
Learn about your EndoCannabinoid System (ECS):
Full Spectrum CBD .v. Broad Spectrum CBD - How to Choose Made Simple
Learn about Hemp:
Hemp 101: Fascinating Insights Into The Amazing Hemp Plant
Learn about Homeostasis:
What is Homeostasis? And Can CBD Help in Balancing Your Body?
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.*