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Tips for Getting Through the COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19

Options for Getting Through This Crisis As Gracefully As Possible

Most, if not all of us know what is good for us, and what is not good for us.  We know that exercise is good, eating well is good, getting the proper amount of sleep is good, and drinking plenty of water is good.  We also know that the opposite for that is not good; along with over medicating with drugs, alcohol, and sugar is not good, stressing over things that we have control over is not good; pushing ourselves to exhaustion, and the opposite of that, lethargy, is also not good.  We do know these things, but what we may not know is how to organize our daily life around all the good things, and help ourselves from falling into the pitfalls of the bad things.  Now is a good time to begin or improve upon good habit-forming behaviors that can last throughout our lives.

As some of you may know, I have developed a program/programs that teach the balance of our Mind, Body, Spirit, and Emotional self.  I have taken from this curriculum information that may help you during this pandemic.

I will begin with the Body. Our Bodies have basic needs for survival: AIR, WATER, FOOD, and EXERCISE.  To tend to these four basic needs, here are my suggestions.

AIR

Deep breathing, Diaphragmatic breathing, and Intentional breathing are breaths that can be done throughout your day. 

Deep breathing:  A breath that can benefit you all throughout the day.  You can call conscious breathing, or awareness breathing. Sometimes as the day is in progress, we don’t realize how shallow our breath is.  This conscious/awareness breath will help to calm you, slow you down, and allow you a greater focus in whatever you are doing for that moment.  It can also be used to help you relax, or to fall to sleep. 

Diaphragmatic breathing:  This breath can be a good exercise for your diaphragm and your lungs. I use this one at least twice a day.  I take 10 diaphragmatic breaths in the morning before I get out of bed, and another 10 before I fall asleep at night.  This breath helps to fill the full capacity of your lungs, to help keep them strong and well functioning.  It, is also relaxing, perhaps due to the amount of oxygen being poured into your body and brain.  When you hear someone say “fill your belly” with this breath, this is the breath they are talking about. In performing diaphragmatic breathing, our diaphragms are pulled down into our bellies, which inflate our lungs.  When this happens, it massages our gut and our internal, digestive organs and helps to keep us more productive in eliminations of waste products from our bowels.

Intentional breathing:  This can be more of a healing breath.  How many times during your massage have you heard me say to you, “Breathe into it”? When you come to a moment in your life where you may feel overwhelmed, “breathe into it.”  If you are feeling some discomfort in your body, “breathe into it”.  Here you focus your intention on the area of focus and take your deep breaths, releasing your breath and with it the issue, be it physical or emotional.

Air, of course, is essential. The breathing techniques are an important part. Fresh air is also important, get outside, unless the outdoor air is a problem with allergies and other lung-related issues.  Keep your lungs strong and always remember that your lungs work hand and hand with your heart. 

WATER

Now water sounds like an easy one, but for many, it is not.  If you are a person like me, who loves water, this may not be a problem, but even so, it can have its difficulties.  

Some say one should drink ½ their body weight in water, that could be too much for someone, depending on their body weight.  I say it is fairly safe to say that everyone should drink a minimum of 8/8oz glasses of water a day.     

The problems that could interfere with one’s desire to drink water may be:

  • Some people don’t like water. 

Here are some suggestions to help one drink more water. {By the way, nothing is water but water, no matter what fluid it is.} 

Add a little lemon juice, or fresh squeezed citrus to it.  If adding any fresh fruit gets you to drink water, do it.  No processed sweet drinks, though, please.

  • Having to keep running to the bathroom.

If you are stranded at home, now is the perfect time to acclimate your body to a greater water intake.  Once your body stops fearing it will dehydrate, it will stop storing water for emergencies.  Drink most of your water earlier in your day.  Slow down in the evenings, and at least two hours before bedtime.  Then just take little sips up until a half-hour before bed.  Make sure you relieve yourself before you go to sleep.  If you are a person who goes to the bathroom in the middle of the night no matter what, but if you wake to close to your actual wake up time you sometimes have trouble falling back to sleep, I recommend you relieve yourself closer to an hour before you go to sleep.  That way you will wake halfway through the night and will be tired enough to fall back to sleep. Do not deprive your body of the water it needs to function well.  Just plan your day better around your water intake.

FOOD

Again this one sounds like an easy one.  We all know what we should and should not be eating: 70% veggies to 15% protein, 15% carbohydrates.  Somehow our plates seldom look like that.  So, we do the best we can to eat the best we can; reasonable portions, some mix of the three above, and at least three meals a day.  When snacking, stick to healthier snacks, non-processed or high in fats or sugars. 

Pick an 8 hour period in which to eat your meals. (leave the next 16 hours for food digestion, and food elimination)

Some people cannot do this, some must eat as soon as they awake, or need to have a little something in their stomachs at all times.  [If you have dietary restrictions, that is the law you must follow.] It is best for most people not to eat a couple of hours before bedtime, due to reflux.  

The bottom line:

  • Do not over-eat.
  • Do not under-eat.
  • Eat healthy snacks.
  • Eat good proteins, low in fat.
  • Limit or cut out completely all foods with high fructose corn syrup.
  • Keep your foods as close to natural as possible, like fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed.
  • Remember that vitamin and mineral supplements can be helpful, but it is best to be informed to what supplements are best suited for your body’s needs. Enjoy what you eat and eat in a loving way to your body.

EXERCISE

Exercise is so important for so many reasons, [which brings us back to AIR and breathing.]  It circulates our blood through our bodies to feed them the nourishment they need. It strengthens our hearts so that they can circulate the blood more efficiently to our bodies.  It keeps our muscles strong so that they can support our bodies and help us be more stable in our movements in our daily lives.

Let us not forget that stretching is as important, if not more important than exercise, especially as our bodies become more aged.  As we age, our bodies can become more rigid, less flexible.  Our agility is vital to our physical safety.  Whatever form of exercise you do, you must never skip the most important part, stretching. So many do, and so many have physical problems as a result.   There are some people though, who are hyper flexible and must not over stretch.  This oftentimes is the cause for their physical problems.  Point being: know your body, know your needs.  Do you need more stretching or less, more weightlifting or less, more aerobic exercise or less?

I can relate to how hard it may be for many of us who were accustomed to going to the gym on a regular basis.  Where do we go now?  What do we do now?  Here are few suggestions:

  1. Take walks outdoors, and if that is not possible, and your house is large enough (It doesn’t have to be a huge house to do this], walk around your house. 
  2. Start out walking more slowly, to help warm up your muscles, and work up to a quicker pace if desired.  If walking outside, make sure if you are wearing headphones, it does not block out the sound of oncoming vehicles and other warning signs of danger. 
  3. Cool down by slowing your pace and make sure your breathing is calmer and you don’t feel a heavier exertion as in the peak of your walk. Drink plenty of water and stretch afterward, especially your calves.  A great calf stretch is done one foot at a time, hanging your heel back off the edge of a step or ledge. This is a good stretch for those who suffer from muscle cramps of the calves or plantar fasciitis.   
  4. Whether walking indoors or outdoors, never walk the same exact walk repeatedly.  Take different routes, or walk one direction one day, and the other direction the next time you walk. 
  5. I also recommend not wearing the same exercise shoe two days in a row.  Alternate your shoes to give them time to dry out and help prevent toenail fungus.  I personally believe it is better for the gait as well to change the shoes daily.
  • Another aerobic exercise one can do is dancing.  Turn on your favorite music and just move.  Remember in those younger nightclub days when you danced for hours? And if you never did, but wished you had, now is the time.  Go for it!  What is the line from a feel good plague? “Dance like no one is watching. “ Have a date night with your partner once a week and dance together.  
  • There are programs on TV that have exercise and yoga classes.

I warn my clients about doing exercises that we once did in school or for the sport we played.  Many of those exercises are taboo and have been found quite damaging to our bodies. 

  • The first rule of thumb is, if it hurts, or doesn’t feel right, stop.  Find something else to do.  You can use canned goods as weights to lift.  You can start out doing pushups against the wall to slowly build your muscles to doing floor pushups.
  • It’s always better to slowly build up and prevent any injury, than it is to jump in full force and need to waste time in recovery for your injuries. 

       4.   Exercise should be pleasant, if not fun.  For some, it will never be either, or at  least that is their mindset.  Find something that is fun for you and be creative in      turning it into something that will assist your body in becoming stronger and healthier. I ordered a mini trampoline and set in front of my TV.  I walk on the trampoline while watching a couple of shows and don’t feel a bit guilty about doing so because I am getting some type of exercise in while catching up on some programming.

I am planning a zoom exercise class from my basement.  I set up a little gym down there so that my husband and I can continue a healthy lifestyle, including exercise.  I thought I would make that available to my clients and friends who want to connect and workout together with a little guidance from a healthcare professional.    

These are a few ideas to help you get on or stay on track.  If you have any questions or need further assistance in setting up your own personal health regiment, please contact me via email or text, and I will get back to you in a timely fashion, or check out my website for even more information beyond tending the body.  

I do hope that this has been helpful to you, and wish you the best during a very uncertain time.  

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