Taking in news about the coronavirus, social distancing, and hiding in our homes can naturally create an experience of stress, helplessness, and loneliness. I have been trying to stay present with wildly varying emotions, thoughts and self-judgments, moment by moment…while doing my best to redirect myself to the best possible thought/feeling that I can muster in the moment. It has been a constant practice. With that said, I do believe that greater empowerment, peace, and a robust immune system can be close at hand, even amidst the madness.
Rather than offer a laundry list of every single thing you can do to support yourself during this time -- which would actually create more stress and negatively impact your immune function -- here are a few essential natural tips to support your immune system and well-being during this pandemic:
Eat vitamin C foods. Kiwi, bell peppers of all colors, strawberries, grapefruit, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli -- in addition to the well-known favorite of oranges -- all contain vitamin C. Many of them also contain antioxidants, all of which are essential for a strong immune system. When in doubt go for color, lots of color, in your food choices.
Eat zinc foods. Zinc is a powerful immune supportive nutrient, and foods such as oysters, beef, chicken, beans, and cashews contain higher levels of zinc. All of these foods also contain protein, which is an essential building block for your body, and your immune system, to function optimally.
Use high-quality nutritional supplements for extra protection. Supplementing with nutrients such as vitamin D, C, zinc, and NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine), and using herbs such as elderberry can help us -- and our immune systems -- weather this trying time. Feel free to book time with me for a complimentary consultation if you would like to discuss food, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations to support your immune system. I am also offering 15% off supplement purchases on my online store until April 7, as well as offering help in quickly acquiring high quality supplements when stores or online retailers may be backordered.
Get into nature. We may not be able to go to the office or a basketball game, but we can go to nature (albeit 6 feet apart from others!). Nature has been a large part of my solace during this time. It can be as simple as sitting with a tree, flowers, or plants near your home. Or venture out to a spacious park nearby. Research shows that time in nature can significantly reduce stress and improve mood.
Stay [virtually] connected to others. Something that really stands out to me in the guidelines for containing the virus is “social distancing.” While staying home, and keeping our distance from others absolutely helps to contain the spread of a virus, I have concerns about its effect on our well-being. Research shows, broadly speaking, that people who are less isolated tend to have better health outcomes. We are social beings and meant to live in community. For this reason, I highly recommend staying in touch with friends, coworkers, and loved ones using video, text messaging, phone, social media. It is a step we can take to support each other, ourselves, and our well-being during this stressful time.
Taking on one new practice every few days as you feel comfortable doing so can go a long way toward creating a greater sense of peace, well-being, and health, no matter what the circumstances. I am here for you. Feel free to get in touch if I can be of service to you.
These are trying times to be sure. After 2 months of sheltering in place here in California, I’ve grown tired of staring at the same four walls, and have made my way through several seasons of TV shows. I toggle between appreciating Zoom meetings for their lifeline to others, and feeling exhausted by them. I’ve begun contemplating what type of face mask would be most fashionable and functional. And I know I am not alone with all of this, and so much more.
During this time, getting out into nature has been my salvation. And although some parks and beaches are closed, I know I am not alone in my need to see the open sky, judging from the number of people I pass on my walks, and the news footage of people congregating on beaches.
Even after a short time in nature, I feel the stress decrease. I feel my nervous system calm down. I feel my mood lighten. I begin to have a greater sense of hope and possibility for the future. And I know I am not alone in this either. Even before the pandemic, a number of studies showed that being in nature results in reduced stress, reduced depression, reduced blood pressure, and more.
Studies also have demonstrated that time in nature can actually reduce levels of cortisol, a primary stress hormone. We also know that when cortisol is elevated, and when stress is present, immunity suffers. So, although these are inherently stressful times, reducing stress in whatever ways we can is essential to support our resiliency if we encounter a virus.
So, in case you haven’t already guessed, one of my top health hacks for these times is being with nature.
We don’t have to go deep into the woods to receive all the benefits of nature. We can easily find the beauty of nature in most of our neighborhoods. That said, one of the important aspects of our nature time, to receive the most benefit, is mindful connection with it.
Pre-pandemic, I gathered groups together in nature and led them through practices of mindfully connecting with the natural world and receiving all the healing benefits it offers. I’ve adapted this program -- Nourish in Nature --for these times, giving folks everywhere the opportunity for a guided nature experience and connection with others at a safe distance.
Check out the Nourish in Nature (virtual) Adventure, coming up May 16, 2020.
This coming Saturday, people around the country will get out from behind their screens and head out into nature. I’ll guide them through a beautiful nature-connecting experience from an audio recording on their phones. Then we will connect as a group--via a live phone conference call--
from our individual nature locations to share our experiences and connect with others.
The Nourish in Nature (virtual) Adventure is going to be a beautiful experience that is needed now more than ever. I hope you will join me.