Especially now in these turbulent times, spending time and intention to make sure our well-being is as optimal as it can be is essential! Not only help these practices to move through the weeks as easy as can be, most of these pillars, when done right, have a positive effect on your immune system! Anything to protect yourself where you can.
Here are my favourites I'm focusing on right now.
Tribe/Community Being part of a group of people you can level with and who you can turn to for advice or help, who you can share your isolation experience with or who you can simply have a 'natter' with, can really lift your spirits now. I've seen virtual book clubs pop up, numerous group calls, online co-working hours and so on. It warms my heart to see how people are reaching out to one another.
If you feel a bit lonely, pick up the phone and call an old friend who you haven't talked to in a while. If you have much to catch up on, time will definitely pass! Right now is also an excellent time to reach out to people you know who might be lonely. Write them a note, or drop in some essentials for those who are not very mobile. And hey, once all this is over, you can of course keep this up and spend some time with the people you resonate with, hugs all round!
Nutrition Up to 80% of your immune system is regulated in your gut, so making sure your food choices are the right ones is essential right now.
One of the simplest things to do is to cut our known allergens, foods you know you personally have a sensitivity to and processed foods.
What's left then is whole, real food, filled with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. If you've been looking to take a break from junk food, now is the best time. As you are unlikely to easily 'stop' in the petrol station, as you won't be near the office birthday cakes and you now also have more time to cook. Try to eat vegetables with every meal.
It doesn't matter right now if it's fresh or frozen, it's about getting used to eating more veg! One of my clients took this quite literally and grated carrot in her porridge. What a genius idea! Just add some raisins and walnuts, and you have carrot cake porridge.
Even though it's tempting to buy a lot of treats on your next shopping trip, try to refrain from it. Once stuck indoors, knowing you have all the biscuits and chocolate hanging around, it can be difficult to keep away from it.
Sleep/Rest/Recovery Sleep is when you restore and rebuild any damaged cells. A good sleep hygiene can improve your quality of sleep and help you feel rested when you wake up. Good quality sleep also supports your immune system. Make sure to stick to regular sleeping hours, even in the weekend. Click here for my sleep tips cheat sheet. Your best sleep is yet to come!
Taking time now to rest and recover can be just what your body needs. Spending a moment each day to do deep breathing exercises can also help your immune system, so why not hit 2 birds with one stone? You'll also feel better rested and ready for the day.
Spending time outdoors Being stuck inside is no fun for anyone. And spending time outside can not only give you a break from looking at your family all day (added bonus points if you use this time to listen to your favourite podcast while you're at it) Where possible and allowed, going for 1 or 2 walks daily can help you give a sense of normality, give you a chance to move your body and stretch your legs. Even if it's 10 minutes, you are moving your body, which as a result keeps your lymph fluid moving, which is essential for your immune system. With a bit of luck, you'll go outside when it's dry or the sun is out, and you also soak up some much needed Vitamin D. Spending some time in nature also has a calming effect, so if you feel a bit stressed or claustrophobic, this can really help your nerves. Of course, only go outside when it is safe to do so, and try and stay as close to your home as you can, to avoid spreading.
Mental health Believe it or not, this time can be the right thing to take a moment of reflection. What is going well for you? What are you happy with? What is making you feel stressed or unhappy? How are you coping with isolation, uncertainty, life?
We are so lucky that we live in an online era, because now, more than ever, is when we need to reach out to get help if we need it. It is ok not to be ok, and everyone feels and reacts differently to these uncertain times. If you feel you are not coping well, reach out. There are so many therapists who take phone or video consultations now. There are also free helplines available and if you want to focus on your mental health, there are plenty of amazing books out there.
There is a lot to say for the gut-brain connection, and if you noticed you feel extra stressed or upset, and with this you have more gut symptoms, this could be your cue to work on your emotional health. Remember, 80% of your immunity is regulated in the gut. Happy brain, happy gut, and vice versa.
Exercise Last but not least: moving your body around! Again, this helps to keep your lymph fluid moving, but can also prevent you from getting a back ache from all the sitting down you are currently doing more of. It can be a great way to pass time, and moving can also support your digestion. Think yoga with lots of twists, or dancing, or simply walking. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you do it regularly, break up a sweat to get those endorphins going.
You have probably seen plenty of posts like this go by, and if you even take on one of the points just covered and it helps you get through this difficult time, I'll be a happy woman! Be safe, stay indoors, be healthy.