Has the coronavirus pandemic triggered your desire for better health?
If not, you may want to reconsider…
Although statistics vary, we are seeing the death toll rise higher in the United States than in other countries from COVID-19. Other hard hit countries are showing around a 3% death rate while the U.S. is at roughly 10%.
What is this caused by?
While research is still being done, one thing we can deduct is that although we may be one of the most affluent countries in the world, we are also one of the unhealthiest.
Health in western culture isn’t what it should be. With rising rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension (just to name a few), the paradigm about taking care of ourselves before something goes awry isn’t a high priority. We Americans tend to deal with diseases once they arrive, treating symptoms with medication or surgery rather than discovering and healing the root cause of an issue or trying to prevent it in the first place.
But our perspective may be changing…
No matter what comes out of this pandemic, there is no guarantee in any direction we take for our health. Vaccines aren’t 100% protective, therapeutics may not work for everyone without risk, and scientific development is not something we can count on in the short-term.
Right now, we need to embrace all possibilities when it comes to protecting our health and what is most readily available to all Americans at this moment is: self-care.
John Chen Ph.D., Pharm.D., O.M.D., L.Ac. says, “Immune system, in the end, is basically the cure-all. It’s the only thing that can keep up with all the bacteria and all the virus and all the immune deficiency and all the resistance. You really cannot come up with a drug or herb fast enough to deal with all the mutating strains of the bacteria and virus. It’s just not possible, so in the end, your own body, your own health, your own immune system really is the best medicine.”
At this moment, we need to go beyond self-quarantining and take our health and well-being into our own hands.
How can you do this?
I have 3 simple things you can start doing immediately (two for short-term health goals and one for the future):
1. Establish New Habits.
I understand this time is stressful and you may be trying to just get through the day. We all are. However, this dangerous stress makes it even more of a reason to embrace new or refresh routines geared towards taking good care of yourself.
And before you think you can’t do one more thing right now…take a deep breath and let it out slowly. You can. You can do one simple thing for your health. You owe it to yourself.
Some new habits may be:
- online strength workouts
- online yoga classes such as Yoga Today
- finding movement in things around you such as using stairs for workouts (check out this New York Times article for more ideas)
- regular technology breaks
- getting outside everyday for at least 20 minutes
- having a warm cup of tea every afternoon to slow down and think
- taking a brief afternoon nap
- reading instead of watching television before bed
- limiting the amount of news watched
- taking breaks from social media
What is one new habit you can form starting today?
2. Eating Mindfully.
Bringing mindfulness to what you buy, cook, and eat is vital when it comes to self-care. I know during this time it isn’t easy to get a perfectly well-rounded, freshly-cooked meal on the table three times a day, but there are things you can do to keep your diet focused.
- keeping everything as simple as possible
- focusing on making things you can freeze such as easy-to-eat soups and stews. Make extra batches to freeze in separate containers.
- forgoing fancy recipes
- opt for a protein, vegetable, and starch or a protein and salad to keep things easy
But what if you really want to cook or bake? Great! Go for it!
It’s important to continue to do things you enjoy – and that means eating and drinking what you like as well. Sip a drink, indulge in a cookie, or have a bowl of ice cream – just remember to stay mindful when it comes to how much and how often.
Our future looks different than our past; we are changing at a very fast rate due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While we have the power to control what we can such as: consuming less, recycling, adopting a simpler life with less carbon footprint, and taking care of ourselves, there are still things we can’t prevent.
Those who are most resilient to what is to come may do the best. Without profound physical and mental reactions to change, those who can adapt to things out of their control may be most successful in the future, according to historian, philosopher, and author, Yuval Noah Harari.
A sense of grounding and acceptance is key to this perspective.
How can you find that?
Start with one or a few of these:
- learn to control your reactions with deep breathing
- being mindful
- finding time and space to think and reflect daily
If we can learn to ground ourselves, we can function better physically, emotionally, spiritually, and even immunology-wise.
This moment in time is offering the opportunity for us to establish new habits, become a more mindful eater, and to practice grounding. What will you do to make a positive change in your health in response to the pandemic?
If you live in the Boulder or greater Denver metro area and are interested in learning more about what you can do to get and stay healthy right now and for the future, please call me at (720) 340-0193 or contact me here.
Let’s use this time to become stronger, wiser, and healthier.