When I was a professional goldsmith, my standard response (in my mind) to the "OMG, how fabulous, you're an Artist!" was: 1) it's actually a job like any other, and 2) don't we all need to be creative every day? Linda Davis
Well, these COVID times are ripe for creativity! Here are 4 categories of hints and tactics to surpass simple survive, you want to thrive. See below for how-to-get-it-done suggestions. 1. CLEANLINESS What: Virus avoidance, elimination from environment. See what CDC says. Why: You really don't want to be near this thing. Keeping away from and cleaning away the pathogen minimizes communicability and incidence. Listed below are defensive tips and tactics. The next couple categories strengthen your resistance. 2. NOURISH BODY What: Get your bio-machine running in peak order. Why: With all systems go, you're efficiently fit and strong. Yes, I realize this is an ideal rather than actuality. Aim high, be your best. 3. NOURISH MIND AND SPIRIT What: Spirit animates Body, Body houses Spirit. If one's hurting, the other feels it. Give yourself a chance to win. Why: Honestly, don't you feel better when you feel better? Mood and emotions play a part in physiological function. Search “immunity and mood” to find studies on the connection between stress, mood and health. There's a lot out there. 4. BEYOND What: It's not always going to be like this. How will you move forward? Why: I'm thinking with this as a world-wide event, once the acute stage has passed, we probably are not returning to the way things were before. At least not exactly. Take what you learn now to craft the future you want! Continued media coverage may drive you to immobilization or frenzy of spirit. Move toward balance – take a break! And breathe! It will be there when you get back, I'm sure of it. And if it's not, so much the better, Yes?
Go for the basics: washing hands, saltwater gargling, wiping surfaces, taking care in what you touch, care in what you exude around others. What would your mom do?
Sequestering, from Latin sequester: a go-between, mediator. You're not actually cut off but get yourself prudently well-insulated. I like this term over isolating, distancing and other cut-off-sounding words. Create a safe buffer zone.
These are defensive tactics; next categories are strengthening.
NOURISH BODY: HOW
Remember all those good health guidelines? There's good reason they still hold up! Figure out what's optimal for your well-being.
Eating healthy food, in moderation and a variety of foods. Stronger, more rarefied (processed) foods can be hard on your system. Watch out for refined white sugar (coconut sugar and maple syrup are two favorite alternatives of mine) and dairy (cow dairy products notorious for producing phlegm and mucus). Take the overview of how you're eating over a day, over a week, etc to help you find what dietary guidelines work for you.
Qi Gong, here's a simple and easy routine to strengthen the Lungs (so important in immunity according to Traditional Chinese Medicine) from one of the premier western scholars and practitioners in the acupuncture world. Some practice is better than none and Consistency Wins Every Time!
Deep breathing (also mentioned in Qi Gong video) has a positive physiological effect. See the graphic
If you want to talk nutrition in more depth, my friend Charlie Smigelski shoots from the hip, dead on target. Scroll down on his home page for suggestions on covid-19 supplements.
Prefer to go herbal route? The Chinese pharmacopoeia is superior, especially for tonifying herbs (help you to be your best) . Check my friend and colleague Wyatt LaCoss.
Essential oils bridge the realms of food and medicine. Although scientific research on oils is in its infancy, oils have been demonstrated to have a wide range of anti-microbial capacities. Here's one study from 2016. Ask me if you're interested to use some essential oils. I have a new blend specially to strengthen resistance and discourage pathogens.
Rest and Activity are Yin and Yang. Practice looking at the bigger picture to assess meaningful balance. There's likely a natural lessening of regular activity during sequester. Great time to explore out from your personal rut! Continued media coverage may drive you to immobilization or a crazy frenzy. Spring is nigh in the northern hemisphere. What's popping up out of the ground today? Which birds have returned from winter retreat? What's going on with the clouds today? Connect to the greater world and look to your future.
Speaking of spring, allergies on the horizon. If you're well-acquainted with spring allergens, you probably know what your symptoms are. Guess what? Many of these suggestions are probably beneficial for lessening allergic responses.
NOURISH MIND & SPIRIT: HOW
What lifts your heart? Cleaning out clutter, accomplishing stale old tasks haunting your to-do list for years (or is it really decades?), connecting with loved ones close in heart but distant in miles, satisfaction of a DIY project? How good could it be in this time of heightened cleanliness to divest of what no longer serves and is in the way? And I do include the cluttered mindset here!
Armchair traveling; seek outside your usual circles to discover additional favorites, find the heretofore unknown: virtual museums, webcams around the world (Niagara Falls), find out about Chauvet Caves (subject of the Wim Wenders movie "Cave of Forgotten Dreams")
Meditation – “I should, but I've tried and I can't” Actually, that's hogwash. You essentially meditate when you are in the zone, focused on a task, a thought, a daydream. Is that the meditation of the pros? Not really, but it is on the continuum. Think about meditation as an efficient rest moment, balancing out overwork and over-worry. With all sorts of beneficial effects, you shouldn't be surprised immunity strengthens with meditation. Deepak Chopra weighs in. Here's a couple of my simple meditative cleansing and protective techniques. Look for my 5 minute Center Your Heart meditation. Peter Deadman's Qi Gong routine (from above) is quite meditative, focus on your easy and deep breathing. Whatever you do, remember Some is better than None and Consistent wins Every Time!
Healthfully say no when it's beyond your capacity or just not right. Honesty is appreciated and honored.
Closed Doors, Open Hearts! Connect from afar - distance on the streets so easily jumped with a smile, wave, hearty hello & a bit of healing connection.
Helping hands open a beneficial two-way street leading to deeper community. A next door neighbor, or something a bit further from home: city, state, country, animal, vegetable, mineral. We all can use help. I like The Chinese Medicine Forestry Trust, there's loads of other groups: environmentally-centered (plastic in the oceans, clean air), homelessness/housing, medical access, food access, the Arts. Really, no end to possibilities. Send money, look to see if there's volunteer work you can do from home.
One last part here from Paula Cope, cousin of a friend, and I heartily endorse her thoughts on self-care (you'll note similarities)
"When I was pregnant with my twins, I was on bed rest 24/7 for 7 months, Jan-August. I dreamed of a day when I could just walk around my house and do anything. I learned a few things very quickly that might help us all practice social distancing and I thought they might help. If you think it's a good list, feel free to share it. 1. Get some routine going. Stick to it on most days. Set aside time for projects, reading, playing games, home schooling, work, etc. Just create some structure to your day. 2. Don't sleep late every day. Get up at a reasonable time and get dressed. Even on bed rest, I was out of my jammies early every day. 3. Open the shades and let as much daylight in as possible. Open the windows for fresh air when you can. 4. Get some exercise in. You can walk in the woods, stroll through an empty park, or take some online exercise classes. Many yoga and pilates studios are shifting to online right now. 5. Try to learn one new thing, even if its just a new word, every day. COVID-19 is teaching us a lot, but there are plenty of topics you haven't had time to explore. 6. Try to read something you wouldn't normally choose or wouldn't make time to read. On bed rest, I read Spy magazine. It's keeps things interesting. 7. Get creative with your cooking. You can make a million things with flour or rice. Dig around your fridge and pantry and play "Chopped." Or order Foodie Dice online from Two Tumbleweeds and roll to see what you're cooking tonight. 8. Make a video diary with your family. On bed rest I made short films every day to describe what I did (I said they were short). This is an unprecedented time and a video diary might preserve the best aspects of it. 9. Stay connected. Set up Face Time group chats or use a platform like Zoom to stay in touch. Tim Cope and I had lunch today over Face Time. Tomorrow we're video conferencing with the kids from 6 locations. 10. Be happy when night time falls. We made it through another day and we're closer to good health."
May You Have Wellness & Serenity Inner Harbor is Here to Help "Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes