Caring for your Mental, Physical and Emotional Health during Crisis
We're living in extraordinary and challenging times. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we've put together some tools to help you overcome mental, physical and emotional exhaustion in this time of crisis.
"There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them…. Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.” ― Denis Waitley
Our thoughts create and control our feelings, our feelings create and control our actions, our actions create and control the events in our lives and loop back to reinforce our original thoughts. This is why our mental health is so important.
Life can be overwhelming. It's important to take some time for yourself and clear your head. Here's a short video to show you how:
Eat a whole foods plant-based diet:
The role of our immune systems is to protect our bodies from disease. What we eat and drink can either boost or weaken our immune systems. People with chronic diseases, like diabetes and high blood pressure, seem not to fair as well when they become infected by COVID-19. Therefore it makes a lot of sense to take steps to control these conditions now. Countless studies have demonstrated that the best type of nutrition for these lifestyle-related conditions is to eat a whole foods plant-based diet (unprocessed plant foods in their natural form). See our recipes for inspiration.
It's no secret - exercise makes you healthier and helps you feel better about yourself. There are also several theories that physical activity may help flush bacteria out of our lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other similar illness. Moderate exercise, like a daily 20 to 30-minute walk, also slows down the release of stress hormones.
"The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work”. ― Dan Buettner
Sleep and rest:
Stress can lead to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. It also affects our mood and, by extension, can affect our relationships. When you sleep your body restores itself and your dreams allow you to process your daily unresolved thoughts and events.
“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Drink water and reduce your alcohol consumption:
Drinking enough water plays an important role in how our bodies function. Your body is made up of 70% water - if you're properly hydrated, your immune system will work better. At the same time, drinking too much alcohol lowers your immune system.
The Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence describes gratitude as a "state of mind that arises when you affirm a good thing in your life that comes from outside yourself, or when you notice and relish little pleasures". They go on to say:
Though some people and things are clear blessings, this state of mind doesn’t actually depend on your life circumstances. Whether it’s the sight of a lovely face or a tasty bite of food or good health, there is always something to be grateful for. Even bad experiences at least teach us something. And gratitude is not just a feeling outside your control that arrives willy-nilly. It’s more like a radio channel: you can choose at any time to tune in.”
Allowing yourself to feel grateful not only uplifts how we feel, but it can also have a physical effect on our health.
Meditation and Journaling:
Train your mind to be in the moment. Meditation and journaling are ways to practice the power of awareness to bring you back to the present moment. Remember, what you focus on now is what you active in your life.
Some questions that you can ask yourself are:
What is present for you?
Whereabouts in your body do you feel what you feel?
What assumptions are you making?
What does your gut tell you about this issue?
What does your heart say?
What is your inner voice saying?
How could you shift your perspective?
What really matters right now?
What is going well?
“The greatest gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
Where your attention goes, your mind flows. Writing down your insights and reflecting on how you can support yourself to be more mindful is like putting an oxygen mask on first so you can breathe and help others. We always need to shift things internally before we can shift them externally. You could try making a list of where you place your attention on any given day and consider what areas of your life are stagnant. This will help you discover where you really want to be focusing your energy.