What does one say? We’re living in unprecedented times amidst the new virus in town, and it’s massively obstructive in nearly every aspect of our lives. Gratitude, albeit hard to conjure up, with so many things seemingly going wrong, may be the best place to start.
First, I’d like to start with gratitude for the healthcare workers who are on the front lines, supporting the patients who are fighting for their lives. Secondly, the scientists, who are working as hard and fast as possible, to develop treatments, vaccines and lifelines. Finally, for my immediate community of coworkers, neighbors, friends, family and patients who are fighting like the rest of us to make sense of these uncertain and unprecedented times. The expression “keep calm and carry on” is easy to say, but now we must do. Together we will overcome these challenges, and certainly we are better off if we do it together. We might be distanced physically, but meaningful and helpful acts will help bridge the gap.
How then can we best move forward with our health in times like this? Our previous health and wellness routines are abruptly disrupted. Some of us are working from home, others are out of work, and some are working overtime to cope with demand. Here I hope to offer some ideas that help you navigate your health and activity in these uncharted waters.
This is most important. Your safety is also important, but remember that your mind and body will ultimately decide between illness and health when faced with external threats and stressors. Your body has great capability of fighting viruses and other pathogens, which is important to remember in a time like this where there is no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 infection. Thankfully, our bodies are not defenseless against pathogens like COVID-19, and improving your health and wellness can go a long way in the fight against it, should you come into contact. So, if you’re concerned about becoming infected, at this time, your most important asset is you, so treat yourself well.
Ensure your body is getting enough vitamin D through sun exposure or supplementation. Vitamin D is an integral part of immunity, and in the Pacific Northwest, we are at a higher risk of deficiency. Vitamin D acts directly on immune cells by increasing their effectiveness and sensitivity to viruses and other pathogens. It can take weeks to months of consistent supplementation to raise your levels if you are deficient, so make it part of an agreed routine between you and your healthcare provider. Even in these trying times, you can still get the healthcare you need. Many healthcare providers, including myself, are offering virtual sessions and even seeing patients in office to ease the strain on our emergency and urgent care resources in this time of need.
Exercise regularly if your doctor says it’s OK
During this time people are spending more time outdoors exercising, with gyms and spas being closed. There are many online offers for home workouts, which are becoming increasingly available as quarantines rise. Video-streaming services also offer little-known exercise videos that can keep you moving at home. Personally, my routine has been full of basic floor activities: squat, lunge, jump, press, plank, stretch, foam roll and, for cardio, walk and run! Thankfully, we are lucky enough to have a plethora of equipment in our small Madison Park clinic that I’m lucky enough to have and use between seeing patients.