Have you ever said “I wish the world would stop so that I can get off”? I know that in extremely busy and stressful times I have said it myself. Now that we are in this global pause we have been given a tremendous opportunity to recalibrate and reset our lives, and yet it comes as the result of global tragedy. To those who have lost loved ones or friends to Covid-19 my heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose someone in this way. It will take time to process the loss and when you are ready, reach out to a group such as: https://www.griefrecoverymethod.co.uk
Be kind to yourself and take all the time you need to grieve your loved ones’ passing. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
As Charles Dickens said ‘this is the best of times and the worst of times’, but in spite of the devastation it seems to me that the world is going through a metamorphosis right now. The air is cleaner due to less pollution, the Himalayas can be seen from India for the first time in 30 years and seismic scientists are hearing things in the earth which they have never heard due to us all making less noise. This global pause or Selah (a Hebrew word meaning to pause and consider what has gone before) is giving us time to reflect and reconsider life as it was. Are there things that we should leave in the pre-virus season as they didn’t serve us well?
The Japanese have a word, arugamama, which means the virtue of accepting things as they are. During the lockdown are we attempting to keep as normal a routine as possible no matter what or are we filling our time with new hobbies, new courses, cleaning house to stay busy? Instead of going faster, how about going slower? Instead of cracking the whip, how about taking a deep breath? Instead of telling ourselves to do more, how about we allow ourselves to do less?
By doing this we reduce the amount of stress which we have in our lives. Stress has an impact both positive and negative on our immune systems. It is important to recognise that while long-term stress is generally harmful, short-term stress can be protective as it prepares the body to deal with challenges. It up-regulates the immune system whereas long term or constant stress suppresses it. It is vital to maintain a robust immune system during and after this pandemic.
Reduce and Manage Stress
- Meditation, mindfulness or prayer: These practices have been shown to help train the brain and body to turn off the stress response and promote more relaxation. Check out the app Headspace for a great way to get started.
- Deep breathing: Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts and breathe out for 7 counts.
- Get outside for your daily lockdown walk and away from technology
Stress relieving foods
- Sunflower seeds, wild salmon, avocados, broccoli, mushrooms, eggs, some grass fed meat for B vitamins
- Increase your intake of vegetables and fruit to 8-10 portions (1 portion = fistful) a day for vitamin C (high intake required during stressful times)
Sleep is vital for your immune system to repair itself overnight. In order to promote good sleep I recommend that you:
- Make your bedroom a sanctuary by removing TVs and computers to reduce ‘electronic smog’. Keep your bedroom clean, and free of clutter.
- Use blackout blinds or heavy curtains to block out the light.
- Establish a nightly routine by switching off blue screens (TVs, phones, tablets and laptops) at least an hour before you get into bed.
- Limit both your caffeine and alcohol intake as both can disrupt the sleep cycles.
- Have an epsom salts bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil in it. Soak for 20 minutes before bed.
We have a huge opportunity right now to reconnect with who we are as a human race. Therefore, be kind to yourself, be caring, think of others’ needs before your own and we can get through this phase as better people. What will your ‘new normal’ look like post virus?