03 Apr Practical Tips for Dealing with the Coronavirus
This week we have a Guest Author offering us some useful tips for surviving our quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic. We are sure some of her tips will help make your experience a little lighter.
“The immune system is the remedy; a healthy lifestyle is the prescription.”
Perhaps one of the most frightening things right now is the fact that COVID-19 (caused by the coronavirus) is spreading rapidly around the globe. At the moment, there is no vaccination to prevent the infection from propagating and no medications to treat it. This situation can make us feel helpless, create anxiety, and as a result, suppress our immune systems.
Scientists around the world are working tirelessly to decode this virus (SARS and MERS are from the same family) and find a cure. Health-care providers and medical institutions are gathering resources to treat a growing number of cases, and we must do our part by following instructions from the authorities to slow down the spread. But, if we get infected, our immune systems will be the driving force in our recovery. It is more important than ever to re-evaluate our self-care practices so that we can remain healthy for our and our families’ sakes, for that of our community, and our health-care providers.
Healthy habits to support the immune system
- Getting enough sleep means seven-to-nine hours for adults and nine-to-eleven hours for school-age children. Going to bed no later than 10:00 p.m., and sticking to a regular bedtime schedule offers the most effective result.
- Keeping the nose and mouth moist using a nasal spray or neti pot, and take frequent sips of water throughout the day.
- Gargling with salt water cleans the back of the throat and maintains a healthy pH balance in the mouth and throat, and helps to remove and expel mucus build-up in the upper respiratory tract. The recipe: one teaspoon of sea salt mixed with one cup of warm water.
- Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic medical tradition from India. It involves swishing and holding a small amount of food-grade oil in the mouth for up to 20 minutes. This practice helps to remove toxins from the mouth and around the teeth.
- Drinking a glass of filtered warm water (with optional fresh lemon juice) first thing in the morning hydrates and detoxifies the body.
- Remain physically active each day with indoor and outdoor activities (if possible). Biking, hiking, walking, jogging, and cleaning the yard might still be possible while keeping a distance from other people: practice Yoga, stretching, and strength training at home with guidance from applications and YouTube videos.
- Dry brushing using a soft brush, cotton gloves, or a face cloth before showering using smooth, horizontal strokes towards the heart helps stimulate the lymphatic system, which is a part of the immune system.
- A cold shower or cold-water rinse at the end of showering (when not sick) is another way to stimulate the lymphatic system and improve circulation.
Handling stress to stay calm and become more resilient to illness
- Staying informed is essential during this crisis, but we must set boundaries regarding news coverage, reports, and opinions so that we can digest the information without triggering the nervous system’s “fight or flight” response.
- Praying, meditating, or being in the present moment (mindfulness) are most helpful when practiced daily.
- Taking conscious, smooth, breaths several times a day and observing the length and quality of our breathing is an easy and quick method to calm the mind and relax the body.
- Practicing gratitude and writing down a few positive things in our lives each day can contribute to creating a sense of peace and hope.
- Getting grounded by gently pressing our feet down and feeling the connection with the ground is a way to get centered.
- Letting the creative juices flow through crafts, writing, playing instruments, dancing, singing, listening to music, cooking, and baking.
- Reading, learning, or taking an online class to shift focus.
- Offering help, compassion, and understanding can be empowering in times of crisis. Kindness is healing at both the giving and the receiving end.
- Connecting to nature while taking a walk outside, playing with the dog, sowing a garden, or planting pots of indoor herbs can be a sanity saver during social isolation.
Foods that boost the immune system
- Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants: all leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), peppers, celery, citrus fruit, and apples.
- Probiotics: kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt (unsweetened), kefir, kombucha, miso, tempeh.
- Water: drink eight-to-ten glasses daily. Also, fresh vegetable juices, herbal teas, soups, and broths promote hydration.
- Protein: organic meats, legumes, nuts, seeds, quinoa, buckwheat, bone broths, eggs, and fish.
- Antiviral properties: consume garlic, onions, shitake and other medicinal mushrooms, ginger, turmeric, oregano, basil, rosemary, coconut oil, and elderberry.
- Alkaline pH-level maintenance: leafy greens, cucumber, spinach, parsley, arugula, avocado, lime, lemon, quinoa, garlic, ginger, millet, and quinoa. (Highly acidic products to minimize: alcohol, dairy, sugar, meat, coffee, tobacco, and refined grains).
- Limiting sugar: minimize using any kind of sugar including artificial sweeteners, white-flour products, sodas, and other sweet drinks, commercial fruit juices, fruit yogurt, ice-cream and other desserts, cereal bars, commercial cereals.
Helpful supplements *
- Vitamin C: is found in many fruits and vegetables such as bell peppers, berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, papaya, and broccoli, and supplements with buffered C.
- Vitamin D3: skin exposure to sunlight is the best source. Some foods, such as egg yolks, fatty fish, can help to bring the levels up, but a supplement might be necessary during winter.
- Magnesium: found in almonds, swiss chard, spinach, avocado, cocoa, black beans, and tofu. During high stress, supplementing with magnesium citrate, glycinate, or aspartate** can be helpful.
- Omega 3 fatty acids: the best sources are cold-water fish, walnuts, chia seeds, and flax and hemp seeds. For supplementing, fish- or flaxseed- oil are good options.
- Zinc: found in shellfish (oysters), lentils, grass-fed beef, pork, chicken, and mushrooms. Zinc citrate is the best option for supplementing.
During difficult times, taking action can be very empowering. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to take specific steps to feel emotionally stable, boost our immune system in case it has to fight the virus and follow the directions from the administration and medical institutions. We want to be a part of the solution that leads to slowing down the spread of the virus and going back to what we know from before COVID-19. The best sources of information on the Coronavirus pandemic are the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
* Please consult with your medical provider before taking any herbs and supplements.
Author’s note: The information in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It should not be considered as medical advice or a substitute for professional medical opinions, diagnoses, or treatment. Always consult your medical practitioner regarding a medical condition and before changing your diet, supplements, fitness, or other health programs.
Urszula Bunting is a professional Legal and Medical Interpreter and Translator. She is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Registered Yoga Teacher, and published author. Urszula is passionate about empowering people to take charge of their health and to transform life’s difficulties into opportunities to grow. For more information, please visit www.ubwell4life.com.