We are in uncertain times. Rather than dwell on all the concerns and fears that we all have, let’s today start by focusing on the positives. I LOVE the beauty that is coming out of this. The pollution maps showing such a reduction, and the canals in Venice clearing up. The Italian’s singing from their balconies. And communities coming together to support their vulnerable. In today’s blog, I do want to address a concern I have though – COVID-19: what people aren’t talking about, yet, when it comes to longer term health implications. We are, for obvious reasons, so focussed on the immediate health crisis we just don’t have time to think about the longer term considerations.
So, what about the longer term health concerns of COVID-19?
The potential for post-infectious chronic fatigue.
The potential (likely) rise in autoimmunity.
The fact people will be working so hard to make up for lost income.
And what about the sheer stress so many are under right now, because of the situation as a whole?
The isolation and loneliness many are experiencing. We now know loneliness is a health risk.
Perhaps like never before ave we needed to focus on our resiliency.
What Is Resiliency?
Click here to read my introductory article on resilience. Click here for some of the barriers to resilience, and here for the 7C Model of Resilience (which discusses the roles of such things as character and connection in building resilience).
Coming back to the concerns I have around the longer term health implications, what can we do about this?
Well it’s not fancy but we need to start appreciating how important the basics are for immune resilience. What are the basics?
Optimal Nutrient Status
Which requires a healthy digestive system, a healthy diet, and focusing on the below three points simultaneously.
Goal: Eat a range of colourful foods every day, eat 30+ plant foods per week. Consider supplementation but seek professional advice first and consider functional testing of nutrient status.
Good quality, uninterrupted and restorative sleep
How many of you wake up truly refreshed after a nights sleep? Sleep is essential for a healthy immune system. Check out my blog in optimising sleep, coming soon (I will update this article when it’s been released).
Goal: 7-9 hours sleep, ideally something like 10:00-06:30
Exercise has been described as the ‘polypill’ in scientific literature due to it’s multitude of health benefits. It’s a stress buster, it supports immunity, supports sleep, increases the diversity of our microbiome, and reduces our risk of so many dis-eases such ranging from cardio-metabolic dis-eases to neurodegenerative ones.
Goal: 7’500-10’000 steps per day and 3-4 moderate intensity exercise sessions per week.
Managing Our Stress Levels
Did you know that psychological and physical stressors are thought to increase the rate at which we utilise nutrients, and thus we have a higher nutrient requirement at times of acute or chronic stress? Not to mention stress may influence our sleep quality, and our gut health (among many other things).
Goal: A restorative practice every day (yoga, tai chi, stretching, an epsom salt bath, breath work, journalling, a walk in nature, grounding to name a few.)
These four are essential and yet so often ignored, or done partially. Today is not the time to dive in to why that might be. I want to end by simply encouraging you to master these fundamentals. I promise you, done consistently, they can revolutionise how we feel.
Do not leave it until you are sick (not from COVID-19, but generally). Health is simple when we are healthy and taking a preventative approach, it becomes increasingly complex when we are experiencing dis-ease.
Sending love to you all.