We’re anxious to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, and to get back to our regular routines–school, work, and being able to do things together.
But how will we rejoin the world, and what changes will we need to make in order to reclaim our health and wellbeing, while not forgetting the lessons this global pandemic has taught us?
While we will move out of the intense phase of the global coronavirus pandemic, our lives will likely never return to exactly the way they were before the outbreak. This coronavirus crisis has changed the world, and will likely become part of our legacy for years to come.
How do we come out of a global lockdown stronger, healthier, more resilient than before? And how do we eat, sleep, exercise and take care of ourselves to be more in alignment with our new reality?
We Need Real Change
Authenticity is, and will become, ever more paramount in navigating this pandemic, and the time after. We’ve found strength in becoming a global family, and can learn to hold steady to our values in pursuit of becoming a cohesive, and strong post-pandemic community.
We’re prompted to re-evaluate priorities, learning that our health is our most valuable resource, and we’re seeing the value in simple pleasures.
Our immune health, mental wellbeing, and social connections build optimal wellness within every person, so how will we strengthen these aspects now to avoid being unprepared in the future?
How to Reboot your Health Post Quarantine
Stay Vigilant Against Infection
Even after this first intensive wave of COVID-19 begins to slow, the possibility of subsequent outbreaks or waves remains (1). Likely, social distancing, and increased hygiene practices will be part of our dialogue for some time.
As we return to work and school, it’s important we stay vigilant with hand-washing, and keeping exposure to a minimum as much as possible.
Rest & Recuperate
If you’re a healthcare worker, or any of the essential crew still reporting to a physical job throughout the pandemic, you could be at increased risk for psychological and emotional side effects after the outbreak.
Post-pandemic, it’s important for essential workers, and those in the healthcare sector to have time and resources to recuperate not only physically, but mentally as well. Healthcare providers struggle with increased rates of PTSD, depression, and anxiety after a pandemic (2).
If you’re a healthcare worker, nurse, or other first responder:
- Reach out to your support system of family and friends
- Evaluate your mental wellbeing
- Prioritize self-care
If your friends or family are healthcare workers, nurses, or first responders:
- Consider gifting your time, delivering a meal, or dropping a note to let them know you care
- Be patient with hesitation or frustration
- Show compassion when at doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, etc.
Prioritize Immune Health
The behaviors responsible for creating a healthy immune system often take second priority to more urgent tasks in our daily lives. It seems a luxury to take care of those important systems when many of us can’t seem to get a full 8 hours of rest, nevermind consistent exercise and a good diet.
Fortunately for us, proper immune function is not an all-or-nothing matter. And what many are learning is that a healthy immune system is something that’s built over time, and doesn’t come from just one–or even a few–different actions. The most impactful components of healthy immune function are aspects you can focus on starting today:
- Stress management
- Consistent sleep
- A nutrient-dense diet
- Low sugar
- Identifying and correcting nutrient deficiencies
Dive deeper into holistic immune solutions for an EastWest approach.
Coincidentally, each of the following ways to reboot your health after the pandemic also play a significant role in immune health, as well as in overall wellness.
Add to Your Mental Health Toolbox
In the face of challenge, adversity, and stress, developing healthy tools to help us cope is pivotal to surviving and thriving. These are physical or emotional solutions that help us move forward in times of crisis.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re learning that many of us don’t have the bandwidth to handle the added stress and anxiety we’re experiencing, which means we’re feeling the physiological effects on the body–loss of sleep, appetite, brain fog, and panic attacks. We can build our mental health toolbox in many ways.
For the body
Hormone imbalances–especially estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone–contribute significantly to our mood and mental wellbeing. If your energy is low, you have mood swings, or very uncomfortable cycles, a hormone panel will help determine if your body’s chemical messengers are functioning properly.
Acupuncture is another powerful component of traditional Chinese medicine which aims to balance the body’s energy or ‘Qi’ through the stimulation of specific points on the body. Acupuncture benefits include stimulating muscle relaxation, and promoting the release of endorphins and neurotransmitter production (3).
For the mind
The calming neurotransmitter, GABA, helps to balance more excitatory transmitters in the brain. And if you haven’t discovered the power of meditation, there is no better time than now to create a practice. Meditation has been shown to support resilience to stress, and increase the brain’s neuroplasticity–which is its ability to adapt and change over your lifetime (4).
Find Power in Gratitude.
The ability to cultivate a positive mindset can be our biggest strength–or our biggest struggle. Acknowledging gratitude brings us back to reality and helps us see our lives from a more positive perspective.
Post-pandemic, our healthcare workers, and essential crew will be in dire need of our appreciation and support. Those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are fighting to keep communities healthy and functioning.
Begin by writing down three things every morning that you’re grateful for. This can be as simple as your cup of coffee, or as profound as your appreciation for the strength to handle new challenges.
Gratitude journaling has the capability to positively impact the brain and body, causing less stress, improving sleep, and increased energy and enthusiasm (5).
When the demands of our life exceed our capabilities, we experience chronic stress that can manifest in several undesirable ways, including decreased immune function, and an increase in inflammation (6). Activities that attenuate stress in the body should always be a part of our health routine.
Creating Health with Integrative Medicine
When faced with our own mortality–in this case threatened by COVID-19–suddenly our priorities take a dramatic shift. We begin to realize that the hundreds of small decisions we make about our health daily now have very real consequences.
Is my immune system working as well as I need it to?
How do I know if I’m at higher risk for complications from COVID-19?
These are all very important questions thrust to the forefront of our minds when we learned the best protection from COVID-19 was a proactive response. We want our body to be as healthy as possible if facing an infection. And this can’t be achieved by running into the drugstore and picking up an OTC pain reliever or fever reducer.
Creating health provides a peace of mind to every person, in addition to a healthier body, by identifying the root cause of illness, such as:
- Fixing nutrient deficiencies (vitamin D, zinc, B vitamins)
- Healing the gut
- Improving diet
- Reducing inflammation
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
With COVID-19, we’ve seen higher risk for severe outcomes in people with obesity (7). Now more than ever is the best time to focus on getting to and maintaining a healthy weight. Not only does a high percentage of body fat create chronic complications like joint pain or decreased energy, but it can also contribute to systemic inflammation that harms our ability to fight infection and have a normal immune response.
The immune system relies heavily on the regulation of inflammatory signals, and if this system is unable to function properly due to increased body fat, this makes us more susceptible to worse outcomes for both acute and chronic conditions, including the pandemic we’re facing now (8).
As we slowly flatten the curve on this pandemic, we will all remember the importance of building our immune system to be the most robust possible.
Post-quarantine health will be a marathon, not a sprint, and will humble many of us as we strive to rejoin the world as stronger, more resilient individuals. COVID-19 will become part of our history, but this doesn’t mean we can’t learn, grow, and build a silver lining from the trials and tribulations we face as a global community.
If you’re learning how to harness your power, discovering your Power Type can teach you how to eat, rest, move, and supplement to best support your unique physical, hormonal, and emotional balance.