This past week, I celebrated my birthday, distant from my friends and family. The world today is facing an uncertain and shifting immediate future. Last year, I thought I could sketch out what the next year would bring. Today, few people know what exactly to picture one year from now.
For many of us, worried about illness, relatives, or finances, it may seem increasingly difficult to focus on the same goals that we worked towards last week. I ask you to take some time today to visualize not the material outcomes you may strive for, but the personality traits you aspire to emulate. Look inward, and encourage your empathy, compassion, strength, and resilience. Times of communal hardship provide an opportunity to find our best selves, and dedicate ourselves to upholding our values.
One way I have found to deal with this crisis is to underline my focus on physical and mental health. Remaining in your house or apartment can feel claustrophobic, sad, and sedentary. The best thing you can do to combat a range of problems is to maintain healthy habits during stressful times.
Nutrition is Key:
Make sure to include in your diet vitamins and nutrients that transport helpful chemicals from food to your brain, and combat anxiety and depression in a time of confusion. These include:
Curcumin (turmeric): in a randomized double-blind study conducted in 2014, 4-8 weeks of treatment with turmeric supplements effectively improved several mood-related symptoms in non-suicidal patients struggling with depression.
Vitamin D: Lack of sun exposure for those of us who are sheltering-in-place can result in a Vitamin D deficiency, which our bodies produce after spending time outside. Low levels of Vitamin D are often associated with symptoms of depression. Foods that can help to recover from a Vitamin D deficiency include egg yolks, fatty fish, and cheese.
Omega-3 fatty acids: fish like tuna and salmon may do double-duty here, giving the body Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to be more effective than placebo for both children and adults at mitigating symptoms of depression.
Kava kava: this Southern Pacific root has demonstrated calming and anti-anxiety properties, something many of us could use to get through an unprecedented stressful time.
Have you noticed foods or supplements that have made you feel better about spending time at home? Tell us about your cooking and nutrition projects.
Water is 90% of our blood, and dehydration can begin to have a noticeable effect after a loss of around 2% of weight, easily achieved by exercise or simply forgetting to drink enough.
Negative impacts can include headache, reduced body heat control, and increased fatigue. If you’re ill, or at risk for falling ill, consuming sufficient water can help with a multitude of symptoms.
Not only does staying hydrated provide a skin boost, but water cushions and protects vital organs, regulates body temperature to manage heat strain, opens airways, and helps form saliva and mucus. These processes are critical, especially in light of viral symptoms that attack the respiratory system.
Some of us are having to adapt from working from home, and many more of us have been laid off. Whatever your situation, you likely have found yourself with more unstructured, sedentary time than usual. Making sure to develop an exercise routine will keep you physically healthy, distracted, and alleviate some mental stress by releasing endorphins. Gym closures may make it difficult, but here are some alternatives to your normal classes and routines:
Try to Remain Optimistic:
It is of utmost importance to look at the bright side of things, and not let ourselves succumb to fear and anger. For the first time in recent memory, we are in the midst of a crisis that touches every single one of us. We can use that as a tool to strengthen positive connections, rather than tear them apart. Do little things to brighten your own day, so that you can spread the positivity to others (from an appropriate distance, of course)!
Wear more color than usual
Write out three things you are grateful for each morning prior to starting your day
Reach out to a different loved one every day: FaceTime or Zoom if you can
Sign up for a webinar on a topic you have been interested in learning about for years but have never “had the time”
Snuggle with your pet or loved one
Take 5-10 minutes out of your day to breathe and count your blessings to be alive
.Take Advantage of Quarantine if You Can
If you’re staying home, use this quarantine as a chance to better yourself, your creativity, your relationships and your health!
Revisit the feeling you get when sunshine warms your skin and radiates from your heart. Slowly stretch your arms, clasp your hands, and open up your chest to the good things in your life. Meditate on the gratitude you have for the people and activities in your life that bring you love and fulfillment. Use the seeming uncertainty of each new day as a writing prompt: who am I, and where do I want to go?
Transport yourself away from the worries of the moment through mindful meditation; fill an emptier daily routine with self-work. Ask yourself, today and tomorrow: how can I be my best self? How can I be my most selfless self? One year from now, when I visualize my demeanor, morals, and worldview, what does it look like? How did I get here?
I encourage you to share more positive meditations, or your answers to any of these questions.
I’ll be on IG daily to weigh in on facts, explain the developing situation and offer advice on how to maintain holistic health during this worldwide pandemic. We’ve got this guys! And I’m here for you!