With the pandemic and Federal Government requesting we stay home to minimize the spread of Covid-19, many of us are feeling overwhelmed, lonely, moody, anxious or depressed. It’s important for everyone to protect themselves and their well-being, especially those of us with compromised immune systems. As a holistic health and autoimmune paleo coach, I wanted to share some tips to keeping your body, mind and spirit healthy during social distancing.
1. Protect Yourself and Others Many of us living with autoimmune diseases already take precaution around sanitation and hand-washing. Continue to sanitize your space and the spaces around you. Wipe down items you touch throughout the day such as keyboards and phones. If you must go out for medications or other essentials and delivery isn’t possible, opt for a drive-thru pharmacy. Remember to wipe down your steering wheel, keys, handles and/or sunglasses. Try your best to implement clean living area (remove shoes before you go inside, wash your hands as soon as you get home). If you have pets, wipe their paws and wash their collars/leashes as well.
2. Increase Your VitaminD VitaminD is essential to keeping our immunity strong and helps regulate our mood. Low levels of vitaminD are linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety. If possible, take a walk with beautiful scenery and space. Enjoy a book in the sunshine or take hike in nature. If sunshine isn’t a possibility, consult with your doctor or physician regarding adding vitaminD as a supplement (1,500-2000 IU/per serving generally recommended). Another option is an indoor light therapy lamp (starting at $55): www.circadianoptics.com. I love my Lampu!
3. Elevate Your Hygiene This is a great opportunity to make a better effort with our self-care and hygiene. Purchase a new dish sponge, toothbrush and/or tongue scraper (removes layers of mucus, bacteria and debris trapped in the tongue). Add a body brush to your routine before showering/bathing (helps aid circulation and removes dead skin cells). Keep your space clean and tidy.
4. Break a Sweat Movement boosts our immune system, raises level of serotonin and helps our body deal with stress by replenishing and rejuvenating our cells. If you’re like me and don’t have a peloton- don’t sweat it! I love body-weight HIIT workouts and vinyasa yoga flows and there are numerous resources online for at-home exercise routines as well as restorative practices to help us think clearer, rest deeper and boost our immunity. Other ideas: jumprope, hopscotch with your kids, have a dance party in your living room or download TikTok, a new social media app with choreographed dancing.
5. Rest and Routine Are you staying up later to binge watch Netflix or staying in bed until late morning because you have nowhere to go? Please stick to a healthy routine and try to go to bed at a decent hour each night to help support a normal circadian rhythm. Especially those of us with compromised immune systems. Proper sleep is imperative to our mental health and keeping our immune system strong.
6. Laugh Now more than ever is a good time to find time to laugh. Laughter decreases our stress hormones, releases endorphins and boosts the infection-fighting antibodies. Find a funny podcast, light-hearted audiobook or comedic movie or series to encourage those giggles.
7. Make Time to Connect Call a friend, loved one or neighbor to help stay connected in a time we can’t physically connect. Schedule a time with your bestie or favorite co-worker and chat over coffee (virtually). Check in on one another and remind those you care for, they’re not alone.
8. Meditate Mindfulness practices help lower feelings of stress and anxiety. Meditation is a great tool to help calm our sympathetic nervous system (triggered in flight or flight - survival response mode). When we are mindful, present and calm, our parasympathetic nervous system can work properly allowing us to think clearer, digest better and adequately rest at the end of the day. I created Meditate with Kate podcast for those new to meditation and looking for 5-10 minute mindfulness exercises. If podcasts aren’t your cup of tea, take 10 minutes to yourself each day unplugged to focus on your breath and well-being. Some examples are walks in nature/ forest bathing, mindful breath-work, journaling, or a bath to aid relaxation (tip: add 1/2 cup of Espom salt to your bath for a nice detox).
9. Hydrate Clean drinking water is so important to our overall health. If we’re moving less at home and not consuming the healthy AIP meals we normally do (fresh produce or daily greens) try your best to include less caffeine and sugary drinks and include more alkaline beverages such as clean water with fresh lemon or Pomegranate Juice (includes VitC, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants and helps lowers blood pressure).
10. Find Compassion and Perspective Check in on a friend or neighbor who has less experience with social apps or Facetime, Zoom or other video call platforms. If you’re a techie or have great communication skills and have the ability to write/text/email them directions for staying virtually connected, I’m sure many would benefit (and help them feel more confident and less lonely). If you know someone who is financially struggling due to working remote (i.e. personal trainer, yoga teacher, nanny, caretaker or those working in hospitality), reach out to them with a call, text or email and ask how you can help (ex: purchase a gift card for future sessions or send them a gift card to use on Amazon or groceries, etc.)
Flatten the curve. Improve the energy around us.