These are weird and wild times. What we are all living through presently will (I am certain) later be studied. It is my hope that the world will come out on the other side of this more informed as a whole and more prepared to face future diseases with a clear head, calm heart, and science at the root of our approaches.
I also hope that this is an eye opening experience for those of us living through it about the nature of health care and the importance of prevention. I talk with my clients continuously about how these bodies we are driving around should come with instruction manuals.
I wanted to check in with you and also give some advice about keeping yourselves healthy during the Covid 19 pandemic.
First of all, I think everyone should be trying to pay attention to what the experts are telling us. Experts: meaning people who work in healthcare, work with diseases, and work in viral epidemiology. For this reason, I strongly recommend checking the World Health Organization website for regular updates. You can also follow them on twitter and facebook.
In addition to the good advice that professionals are giving right now around hand washing and social distancing, I want to give a few reminders about every day things you can do to help promote wellness and immunity:
*Eat a well-balanced, nourishing diet with lots of fruits and veggies. I know a lot of people are stockpiling canned and dry goods, frozen foods, etc. I hope that you are all considering support of your overall health and wellbeing while choosing the foods that you will consume during this time.
*Stay fit. A lot of folks are having their exercise routines thrown off by social distancing and its impact on their ability to attend the gym or fitness classes. Remember that there are a lot of ways to get a little exercise while still being socially responsible. There are a lot of yoga videos available on the internet, you can practice your taiqi and qigong, you can have a living room dance party. No one likes being an indoor cat, but there are ways to make it fun for yourself while still giving your body what it needs.
*Keep it cool. By cool, I mean calm. By calm, I mean– stress depletes your immune function. These are stressful times for a lot of folks. Economic and food insecurity, worries for people in our lives who are ill or more succeptable to illness, worries for our own health, frustration over needing to pull in, frustration over having less personal space/time than you are used to– all of these things contribute to the stress we are all experiencing daily, and that stress takes a toll on your mind and body.
I suggest taking some time every day (even if it is just a few minutes) to do something that helps you feel calm and relaxed. Whether it’s deep breathing, hitting a heavy bag, listening to calm music (or punk rock, or hip hop, or hardcore industrial) take a few minutes to do something to unwind. Also try to take a break from your social media feeds and the news if they are giving you anxiety– It’s good to be informed, but there is such a thing as over-immersed. Take some time to write, draw, read, color, play with your kids, etc. Your body will thank you.
Get Rest. Be sure to let your body and mind replenish themselves. This can be a struggle with increased stress and anxiety. Keeping a normal bedtime routine can help you to strategize and help your body to fall asleep even in times when you are less relaxed. Keep your bedroom dedicated to sleep. Listen to the same music or do the same activities around bedtime (like reading a book, drinking herbal (decaffeinated) tea, or talking with your significant other). Try to stay away from screens for at least an hour before bed.
Hydrate. Keep drinking fluids. Best advice is to drink half your body weight number (in ounces) daily to maintain good hydration.
Take care of each other. We are practicing social distancing to help #flattenthecurve and slow the spread of this disease– but that doesn’t mean we leave each other out here for ourselves. In times like this, I am most encouraged to remember that we have each other. Say something kind to the grocery clerk. Check in on your friends who work in the service industry (they are scared right now)– can you spare a roll of toilet paper or some canned goods to help them out? If you are well, check in on the people in your lives who are more at risk. Do they need someone to pick up groceries, drop off bill payments, etc. Doing things to help others is good for your heart, your spirit, and your community, so let’s stay safe out there, but also remember to take care of one another. We’re all we’ve got, and that isn’t anything to sneeze at.