No doubt you’ve heard the adage that goes something like this: while we don’t always get to choose what happens to us, we do get to choose how we react to what comes our way.
Does that ring a bell?
While thinking about a topic for this post, I realized that it had to relate in some way to the coronavirus pandemic that’s been turning our lives topsy-turvy during the last month and more.
Have you, like me, been feeling overwhelmed by the daily news and latest facts about the spread of this global pandemic, particularly as it sneaks stealthily into our serene Pioneer Valley?
Trying to figure out how to be both responsible and responsive, I’ve felt like I’m trying to drink from a fire-hose torrent of water! It’s been a challenge to get a satisfying sip, with just the right amount of “water” (or information). My heart has been beating fast, my chest taught, my mind crinkled with worry, and my sleep elusive.
Perhaps you too fret about family members and friends, far and near, who are at risk for complications if they were to contract this virus? Think for a minute about what you’ve been feeling and how that has shown up in your body.
Something that I’ve found helpful for releasing tension recently is deep breathing in the form of periodic long, diaphragmatic breaths into my belly, followed by long, slow exhales. It might help you too.
Now, what I really want to talk about here today is crowns, and I’m thinking of two types.
The first is the Crown of Corona.
Surely you’ve been tuning into the daily news reports (how could anyone avoid them!) about how to protect yourself and your families from the spikey “crown”-shaped, lipid-coated corona critter. You already know about the importance of washing hands and commonly touched surfaces, and keeping a social distance of at least six feet.
So I’m not going to rehash those preventive recommendations here. What I do want to focus on, because it’s has been dominating my thoughts, is what you and I, and just about everyone else, can do to prepare ourselves during this pandemic beyond sanitizing and self-sequestering.
I want to remind you about practices that are essential right now and safe for all of us, even those with a compromised or suppressed immune system.
That’s where the second type of crown, the Crown of Resilience, comes in. Imagine special headwear that is regal in appearance, maybe gold with spires (rather than spikes) and a few gemstones across the front. Somewhat like the crown at the top of this post.
This is what I’m calling the Crown of Resilience. It represents self-care fundamentals that not only help us prepare for managing possible illness to the best of our ability. They also honor the precious “royalty” in each of us that deserves to be well and protected.
For the purpose of this post, I’m highlighting three of the key areas to be thinking about for fortifying your health. In the face of stressful times, it’s easy to let these slip. So I urge you to do you best to prioritize your body’s need for rest, exertion, and nutrient dense fuel.
1) Sleep. Are you prioritizing plenty of sleep? I mean really restful and sufficient sleep, ideally between the hours of 10PM and 6AM, which is when most of our body’s detoxification, repair and restoring work takes place.
Sleep and restful relaxation are fundamental for the proper function of each of the major systems in our bodies.
2) Physical activity. Are you getting an amount of enjoyable exercise that is appropriate for you, on a regular basis? Ideally, daily. Mild to moderate physical movement enhances circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids, which boosts brain and heart function as well as detoxification.
If possible, take your exercise outside, where you can breathe fresh air while taking in nature’s springtime beauty and calming effects. That’s my favorite way both to move my body and to release stress!
3) Food and hydration. Are you eating an array of colorful fresh vegetables and fruits? The rich colors of those foods contain important anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that maximize immune system function, helping us ward off, cope with effectively, and rebound from unfriendly bacteria and viruses.
To the extent possible, eat a rainbow of colors, as often as possible!
Also, now would be an excellent time to replace refined sugars and other processed food products with naturally whole foods. Such a swap would be a powerful anti-inflammatory gift to you and your loved ones!
Finally, take extra care to drink enough water, teas, fresh vegetable juices, and broths in soups and stews. Hydration, during this time and always, is essential for proper detoxification and overall health.
There are a variety of other important ways to build or maintain resilience*, including staying connected (at least virtually) with other people, and managing stress levels with such practices as diaphragmatic breathing, yoga, meditation, and gratitude journals.
Play around with different possibilities until you find one or more activities that you enjoy or that feel right enough to help you out.
Right now we have important choices to make as we adjust to a pandemic reality, including what we’re willing to do to prepare for wearing different types of “crowns.” I’ve alluded to two kinds: the spiked Crown of Corona and the spired Crown of Resilience.
No doubt neither you nor I would intentionally select the first option, but we can choose to be prepared for wearing it if it happens to land, figuratively speaking, on our heads. Or more literally, inside our bodies through contact, especially from our hands to one or more of our mucous membrane openings (nose, mouth, eyes, or yes, even crotch parts).
Yet, what about the Crown of Resilience? This is one headpiece that every one of us can safely opt to wear! After all, it symbolizes supreme self-care, with a focus on the power of basic practices that establish a foundation for health and resiliency. This regal cap is your rightful crown! Choose it for your wellness. Wear it with pride.
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If you’re feeling anxious about the pandemic and would welcome nutrition and health counseling support related to COVID-19, please let me know. I’d be happy to speak with you!
Contact me for a free consult via email or through my website: renewvitality.com
* Note: I have a more full list of foundational self-care practices that can make a real difference for resilience related to illness, whether a common cold, a typical flu, or an unusual virus. I’d be happy to share that list with you. Just let me know that you’d like a copy.