There is currently quite a bit of uncertainty about the pandemic that is the Covid-19 Coronavirus. We are asking ourselves how long it could last, how many more people will it affect; will it smolder down or go away once summer comes; will it re-appear next flu season; will it mutate; will there be a vaccine soon; and so on. But one thing that should bear no question and that we can all hopefully agree on and act on is strengthening, maintaining and optimizing our immune systems during these anxious, fearful and uncertain times.
Self-Care: With the 24-hour news cycle on tv / online and constant social media updates it’s important to implement some daily self-care moments. I am a daily meditator, usually about 45 minutes each morning. Lately however, I’ve been doing my morning meditation along with a couple additional 5 minute “stop and breath and clear my anxious thoughts” time-outs, which I pace out during my day. It is amazing how even 5 minutes of going to a quiet place, focusing on my breath and clearing my thoughts gives me a little better outlook, strength and clarity and perspective.
Now, it’s of course important to stay informed and updated on the coronavirus situation; however, constant TV news coverage, tweets and Facebook posts are not good for your immune system. You might try checking in daily with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website and/or the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website to keep abreast on all the latest and important facts. News organizations, politicians, bloggers and celebrities might have their own agenda or slant to the pandemic and report and post about it accordingly.
Exercise: It is widely accepted that exercise is a good stress reliever and it is very good for overall health. Just 20 minutes a day can make a difference. So just move, do whatever it takes to get your blood flowing, oxygen flowing and those brain endorphins flowing. I always recommend a mix of resistance/strength exercise and cardiovascular exercises. That way you engage both main energy systems of the body: Anaerobic and Aerobic. Fitness centers and gyms can carry a lot of bacteria and germs, so ask the staff about their cleaning and disinfecting policies and bring your own Clorox bleach wipes if needed to wipe down equipment before and after use. Wash your hands with soap and warm water after your exercise session.
Diet: The old saying “you are what you eat” is true, especially when it comes to bolstering your immune system. Sugary, processed, and fried foods are going to suppress your immune system. I repeat, sugary, processed and fried foods are going to suppress your immune system. Opt for fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, legumes and whole grains in your diet. Stay hydrated and limit your alcohol intake. (I guess you are what you drink also.)
Entertainment: We are all going to need some positive distractions during this pandemic, a little time to simply not think about it each day. “Netflix and Chill” just might hit the spot. I would suggest adding in a little more comedy, romance and motivational shows and documentaries into your mix of viewing now, and a little less violence, politics and horror. Live theater may even be a better alternative to digital entertainment. Go out and support a local stand-up comic and/or community theater troupe in accordance with your community’s laws on social gatherings in the time of covid-19. Chances are some of the talent are struggling during this pandemic to pay bills and stay afloat.
Hobbies: Hobbies allow us to stay present and in the zone. They give us an alternative place to spend time and mental energy and therefore become reinvigorated. What are your favorite hobbies? I’d love to know.
Faith: Whether your faith is in god, science, medical leaders, politicians, local community leaders, the universe, yourself and/or none or all of the above, it’s time to harness the power of faith as a healing agent during these uncertain times.
Goodwill towards others: Tragedy, suffering, pain, sickness, catastrophes, emergencies, etc. can bring out the best or the worst in people. I try to choose to make it bring out the best in me. During times like the Coronavirus, I choose to be a little bit more patient with people, a little bit more understanding, a little bit more empathetic and I try to listen more closely to people and talk less. It feels good and the right thing to do, and when you feel good, your immune system is less compromised.
I sure hope this blog article is completely obsolete a year from now and I can ponder taking it offline. In that, I have faith that this will happen. In the meantime, I wish you calm, clarity, health and strength.
About the author: Jack Witt is a Los Angeles based Health and Fitness Coach, Author, Speaker , Healthy Community Organizer and Active Travel Specialist. His other websites include www.ActiveWorldJourneys.com and www.HiketheHolyLand.com