Pandemics, emergencies, disasters, bring out the best and worst of us. I sit here on the Sunday after a National Emergency has been declared looking at a clear blue sky and a fresh, brisk breeze inviting me out to explore the emerging signs of Spring. I’ve turned off the news and spent much of my morning outdoors clearing my head of my own fears and concerns so I can tune into what is a positive course of action for myself, my family, my friends, and my clients during this growing crisis. I draw on my experience and education in Chinese Medicine, my lifelong practice of meditation and yoga, and my many tools of Positive Psychology to guide my actions.
The Corona (COVID 19) virus is dominating and fueling fears of many because there is so much we don’t know or the information we are given via the government and news media is confusing, at best.
What we do know about COVID 19 is this virus is new, it is highly contagious, symptoms range from minimal to life threatening with no medical treatment, and our communities are shutting down in an effort to create distance between us so the rapid spreading might slow down.
Like many, I have spent the last few days preparing for the possibility that I will need to self-quarantine for a couple of weeks (or more). Going into any market, I see empty shelves and signs limiting how many of any one item I can purchase, More importantly, I see the fear of the unknown in peoples eyes and in their efforts to prepare for quarantine. It does seem that life as we’ve known it — predictable and known — is changing as rapidly as the virus is spreading. While I don’t know how life will change or what post Corona virus will look like, I can focus my life on what I can do to keep myself healthy and well.
Here are some of my thoughts on what we can all do to manage our fear:
- Wash hands: wash regularly with soap and scrub through two rounds of singing Happy Birthday. Washing hands is an important practice every day, not only during a pandemic.
- Social distancing: A recommended and good practice to slow the spread of this virus. It does not mean we must hide away in our homes without contact. For one, we can use technology to reach out and keep in touch. On Friday evening, I joined in a social gathering through Zoom, an internet platform. We were a group of 6 – 8 of us from the Positive Psychology community I am part of. By the end of an hour, we all felt more upbeat, hopeful, and positive. Consider how you might create “social gatherings and support” through your favorite platforms or conference calls. We can stay in touch while maintaining distance.
- Essential oils: I am reminded that during the bubonic plague in the Middle Ages, it was the perfumers & thieves that were protected from getting sick. The essential oil blend, Thieves, is named after this fact from the Middle Ages. The blend of oils in Thieves is: Lemon, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary. Other protective oils are Tea Tree, Frankincense, Myrtle, and Niaouli. Of course, add scents that you love such as Lavender, Rose, Sandalwood, or Vetiver. You can create your own blend by mixing 15 – 25 drops of each oil into a carrier oil and apply beneath your nose or on your chest and arms.
- Healthy Eating: Be careful about ‘stocking up’ on foods you wouldn’t ordinarily eat. If you must stock up, consider whole grains, frozen fruits and vegetables, broths, and soups. Fresh vegetables and fruits are available and you can take precautions when going out shopping.
- Breathe: Fresh air cannot be emphasized enough! Now is a good time to practice pranayama if you are familiar with breath techniques through yoga. Stepping outside to breathe fresh air, open a window, or go for a walk breathing deeply to keep your lungs open. I encourage the practice of three deep breaths every hour or so throughout the day.
- Gratitude: Fear and negativity weaken our immune systems. Gratitude for what we do have keeps our minds clear, mindful, and positive. Begin and end your day with what you are grateful for. Gratitude is a great practice to feel positivity.
- Plan for creativity: What inspires your creativity? Now is the time to write, draw, paint, photograph, knit, sew, or whatever is your creative expression. Even watching your favorite movies can be more creative and uplifting than the news.
- Self care: If you find you are quarantined why not practice self-care. This may be the perfect time to take more naps, soak in hot baths, drink more tea, write in your journal, do more yoga, or go for a walk outdoors.
- Be outdoors: Being outdoors in your garden, in the woods, or on a beach is a valuable health practice. If you know about forest bathing, now is a good time to take a mindful, slow walk in nature breathing in all the health benefits surrounding you. Bathe in the beauty of nature.
- Skin brushing, fluids, and gargle with salt water: Keep yourself well hydrated with fluids, especially water. Brushing your skin after your shower or bath stimulates the lymphatic system and increases vitality. Gargling with salt water after brushing your teeth keeps your throat healthy.
- Share kindness & positivity vs fear: fear weakens our immune system while kindness and positivity strengthens our immune system, increases resilience, and nurtures community during this time of uncertainty. Simple acts of kindness such as asking a friend if they need anything or calling someone you know is lonely and/or afraid. Kindness goes a long way.
- Herbs & Supplements: This is what I am doing and recommending to clients. Take extra vitamin C and vitamin D3. Take Elderberry syrup (or cordial) several times a week. Another remedy to keep on hand is Oregano Oil. You can also check in with your acupuncturist, herbalist or homeopath for specific herbal formulas or remedies as preventives or in the event you do contract the virus.
These are some of my thoughts on how to be at our best with ourselves and one another while the Corona virus runs its course. I know there are many more actions to take as these are just a beginning few. I do hope this is helpful information and you find some practices you may not have thought of.
If you have your favorite protocols, practices or remedies, I’d love to know so post your comments and ideas. You can also email me with your ideas so we can spread the care to others: firstname.lastname@example.org or LJ5250@aol.com.