Stay Fluid Even in Staccato
It only took but a couple weeks for the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to flip the country on its head. This pandemic also blew the whistle on the innumerable poor decisions this current administration made and continues to make. Fear-mongering still plays a major role in the mishandling of this public health issue as we're bombarded with reports of hysteria and confusion. There is no doubt that the morale of the country is plummeting -- the stability of this country and its current systems are wavering at the expense of its people.
While it's necessary we stay informed about the reality of this pandemic, we also need to disconnect from the news and be present in our mind, body and spirit. What we may feel we're lacking, aside from having a clear picture of the magnitude of this issue, is mental and emotional relief. I hope to equip the rest of us with more knowledge and a better sense of security in staying healthy.
Before I delve into other ways we can protect ourselves and stay healthy, let's get into the best hygienic practices per the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
First, we need to understand how it's transmitted. This allows us to be more intentional in our interactions with others and make better decisions for our own health. In turn, this also considers the safety of our community. COVID-19 is spread in the following ways:
Close contact with an infected person, specifically through droplets from coughing or sneezing. *Note: these droplets can travel up to 100mph*
Inhalation of droplets from an infected person's cough or sneeze
Touching surfaces contaminated by the virus then touching the eyes, mouth, or face. *Note: skin is the largest organ and is very porous (has openings) so this makes it quite easy for transmission of disease/infection*
Now that we have a better understanding of how it spreads, let's get into how to prevent infection for ourselves:
Wash your hands! Use soap and warm water to scrub your hands for at least 20 secs. Do this every time after using the bathroom in public or at home, after coughing/sneezing, and after being out in public in general.
If hand washing isn't readily available, use hand sanitizer that is 60% or more in alcohol content
Avoid close contact with those who are sick. If COVID-19 is spreading more throughout your community, avoid being in large groups and create more physical distance.
It's equally important that we look out for one another as to minimize the potential of more transmission. This is social distancing. When we practice good hygiene for ourselves, we are also reducing the risk of putting others in harm's way:
If you're sick, stay home in a self-imposed quarantine unless medical attention is needed.
Use the inside of your elbow to shield your coughs and sneezes. This limits the spread of droplets on people and surfaces
Throw out used tissues and immediately wash your hands if soap and water are available. If not, use hand sanitizer that contains 60% or more alcohol.
If you do go outside and you're using personal protective equipment (PPE), it is necessary to dispose of used materials properly and to change your gloves every time you enter a new space.
Clean and disinfect high traffic surfaces daily. These surfaces are doorknobs, tables, countertops, etc. Make sure any solution used contains at least 70% alcohol.
We've taken care of how to protect ourselves externally. Now it's time to focus on how to boost our immune system. Medication serves its purpose as an intervention which means it's used to reduce or eliminate symptoms presently occurring. What I'm highlighting here is preventative which is our way to prepare before infection and to strengthen our immunity, naturally. All of which I'm listing also applies to those who are immunocompromised or already take immunosuppressant medication as well. Continue following the regimen your healthcare provider created along with these tips to improve your health.
Add more color to your diet
Incorporating more colorful foods into your diet ushers in great sources of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Some foods especially great for improving immunity are: blueberries, kale, spinach, citrus (such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits), nuts and bananas to name a few. These are all high in folate also known as vitamin B9. It promotes healthy cell division which is important when our bodies need more white blood cells to stave off infection. B6 and B12 are other essential vitamins that help us protect our bodies from disease. These two vitamins are also found in meat (salmon, beef, chicken), starches (squash, rice, potatoes) and fortified grains (bread and pasta)
Vitamin B6 promotes lymphocyte (white blood cell) production and hemoglobin (red blood cell) production. This means we'll have more white blood cells (WBC) readily available to defend the body and more red blood cells (RBC) to transport oxygen, water and iron throughout the body to maintain healthy function. B12 is especially important for proper nervous system function, absorption of folic acid (when folate is broken down), RBC formation and creation of DNA. If access to these foods are difficult right now, pill supplements are a good substitute and probably won't be out of stock. Remember to always follow the instructions on the bottle for proper use and always take them with a meal or snack. Be sure to check your state's government website for food and economic resources in your area.
Disconnect from digital consumption
The need to be in the know is at an all time high currently and rightfully so. However, we have to recognize when it becomes overwhelming and causes more harm than help. For some of us, there's another layer of difficulty because it's our jobs to be informed and report that to the public. On the contrary, while many of us are now working at home or were unfortunately laid off, we owe ourselves more moments of silence and/or presence. This could be taking even a 10 minute break from all of our devices to assess how we're feeling. Now that we're more limited in social interaction, getting back into simple daily activities like cleaning, reading, or writing provides us with space to simply be. Many of us are guilty of imposing high amounts of pressure on ourselves to work or to do (which is a byproduct of capitalism) because our lives literally depend on it. Taking some time to slow down is not the same as coming to a halt. Giving ourselves space to release and not cling to a specific way of being helps to reduce our stress and increase positive feelings of self worth.
We're currently limited in access to gyms as they are breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses to flourish. Yet there are still some ways in which we can get our exercise! If you have enough space in your home to work out then you're off to a great start. Utilize your space to do body weight exercising which means there's no free weights used, just you and gravity. These would be jumping jacks, sit-ups/crunches, burpees, etc. All are great to improve muscular and cardiovascular endurance (how long our energy lasts to perform tasks). Yoga is another great way to connect with your body and improve its function. *Our cells are in constant communication with each other via hormones and other neurotransmitters*. When we understand how our bodies physically respond to emotional/mental distress, we are able to figure out how to alleviate it. Yoga teaches us to be still so that we gain a better understanding of that connection. Any movement that gets the heart rate up is beneficial to improving your immunity and emotional well being. It allows us to honor the nature of our mind and body again reinforcing positive self worth.
It isn't lost on me that for some of us, doing any part of this may be challenging due to access or ability or both. What I've provided is general guide into the first step of improving our health during this time. It is up to us to individually assess what our specific needs are and to tailor our behaviors to fulfill them. When we help ourselves, we can then help each other. This allows for individual and collective growth and healing. I'll also share more links to financial and health resources on Instagram (@giraffeseyeview) and on the home page.