Thoughts in these times of sheltering

The Bay Area’s response to the Covid-19 threat resulted with the shelter in place order. All of us in Alameda and neighboring counties are suffering from this mandate. We are all patiently waiting for the authorities (president, governor and public health officials) to provide further directive and give us the green light to resume business as usual in the weeks or months ahead.

If you find yourself idled then it’s time to take stock of your health. By the time the order is lifted will you want to resume business as usual? I hope not.

According to the Center for Disease Control an average of 35% of Americans get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night with negative impacts to their health across all demographics (sex, race and age). Lack of sleep leads to poor cognition, inflammatory responses, suppressed immunity and a plethora of increased health risks. It isn’t just the amount of sleep that you get but the quality of sleep that can put you at risk for health issues.

Our American culture is not about resting but about producing. Our indoctrination is so strong that we are hard-pressed to recognize this trait within ourselves or others. Rest is the primary way to support your immunity even if you have pre-existing health concerns. This time-out can be a chance to address personal challenges that we have been avoiding and possibly losing sleep over.

As a healthcare professional, I wholeheartedly recommend proper rest. Sleep as long as you want and nap frequently. Do activities in and around your home that you find relaxing. Pull that book off of the shelf and start reading. Get your hands dirty gardening. Watch a YouTube to learn a new stretch. Head to the hills for a hike with your pet. Try that time-consuming recipe. Run to the hardware store and make some home repairs. Watch a funny movie. Go ahead, you have full permission for self-care during this stressful period and beyond.

While you are hanging around the house try instilling these health tips:

  • Reduce your intake of foods and beverages that cause inflammatory responses in your body. Most of you know what these are for yourselves including alcohol and sugar intake.
  • Drink up! The body needs a constant influx of fresh water to dilute and flush toxins. If you are not good at drinking water prepare herb tea or flavor your water with chopped fruit.
  • Try singing the happy birthday song, slowly, while you wash your hands scrubbing up to the wrists to make sure that you wash long enough.
  • Avoid touching your face especially your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Use salt water gargles to soothe a sore throat and further reduce pathogens from entering your lungs. Recipe: ¼ to ½ tsp salt added to 8 ounces of water stirred until salt is dissolved then gargle.
  • Eat ginger, garlic, onion, chili pepper and turmeric to keep your immunity strong.
  • Look up a recipe for ‘fire cider’ and make a batch.
  • Get sunlight on your skin by sitting on your balconies or in your front-or-backyards. Remember to breathe deeply.

We are fortunate and have to count our blessings as we take this time to keep ourselves and our souls healthy. We are all working together to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and quelling our own fears by instating healthier habits. So go ahead and enjoy your rest while you stay flexible in mind, body and spirit.