It’s no secret. COVID-19 has forever changed our lives.
Our communities and the world will not look or feel the same post-quarantine.
Although no one can be sure what to expect on a societal level, I’ve heard from many patients, friends, and colleagues that they’ll prioritize what quarantine has helped them discover is truly important…a less busy schedule, meals together, open lines of communication with distant friends and relatives, creativity, hobbies, time in nature, a connection with Source.
In short…they’ll value well-being before all else.
To optimize well-being, however, healing must take place. While quarantine has provided an opportunity for some to build healthy habits, it’s also intensified ill health in others. So, I wanted to share some insights about how you can support natural healing during and after social distancing by bringing together the art and science of medicine with the innate wisdom of Spirit that exists within and around us.
Quarantine Well-Being Beyond Physical Health
As we begin to reintegrate into our communities, the need for healing is important for our individual and collective well-being. I’m not only talking about health on a physical level. Yes, physical health is critical to help reduce a potential second-wave of Coronavirus. And I’ve covered ways to reduce exposure through avoidance as well as how to boost your immune system naturally in my recent Coronavirus Protection post. Check it out to get started.
But as a physician, a mother, a grandmother, and a planetary citizen, I’m also concerned with the impact of this pandemic on our mental and emotional health, on our spiritual health, on the health of our children, our businesses, and our institutions.
Restrictions as to where we may go and whom we may contact could last into the new year and beyond. Schools might not reopen in the fall. Group activities like sports, parties, conferences, and special events may continue to be prohibited. Millions face isolation, rising poverty, and grief from the loss of loved ones. We’re seeing surges in domestic violence and reliance on alcohol and drugs.
Half1 of Americans say Coronavirus is impacting their mental health. Prescriptions for antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications have sharply risen2 in the span of a few months. The United Nations3 and the World Health Organization4 recently released warnings outlining the escalating mental health crisis across the globe as a result of COVID-19 quarantine. Public officials have called for increased investments to address the effects that will last well beyond mandated social distancing measures…a sort of quarantine PTSD.
It’s clear that a wide-scale effort is needed to help our families, communities, and nations heal. Until policies are devised and put into action, healing lies in your hands and begins with small changes that can increase your well-being.
Quarantine Well-Being: Begin With the Right Frame of Mind
While staying home promises to “flatten the curve” and save lives, you might be going a bit stir crazy by now. Lack of exercise, access to fresh foods, working where you live, educating your children, missing your favorite outings and group of friends…all take a toll. Boredom, restlessness, fatigue, anger, resentment, and a variety of other physical and psychological symptoms can cause an imbalance in mood and decrease your quality of life. But there’s something you can do right now to counteract those effects…work on your mindset.
Mindset is Your Belief in Your Ability to Heal Despite the Circumstances
Mindset refers to your attitudes and beliefs about yourself and your circumstances. Do you believe you’re in control of your ability to thrive and succeed despite conditions around you? Will you adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 quarantine and make the most out of this time? Shifting your mindset to a more positive outlook can make a world of difference in the here and now as well as impact your health long term.
For example, you may find yourself thinking… I’m so depressed and hate being stuck at home. If you’re an especially social person, you could be dealing with loneliness, depression, or worse. These are powerful thoughts, feelings, and biochemical forces to contend with, and I’m not invalidating your experience by suggesting you change your mindset. That’s not what mindset work is about.
No, mindset is not putting your head in the sand and denying the facts. Instead, it’s adopting a frame of mind that says…despite the circumstances, I will choose to overcome and succeed, to make lemonade when life gives me lemons, to be captain of the ship of my destiny rather than tossed upon the waves helplessly.
Mindset as a Natural Healing Tool
Mindset is one of my favorite natural healing tools. It’s completely free and unites modern science and ancient spiritual wisdom, asserting that…what we believe creates our experience, including whether we are sick or can heal our bodies.
For example, mind-body medicine (MBM) is an alternative healthcare model that examines the relationship between the brain, the mind, consciousness, the body, and behavior. It’s based on scientific evidence that thoughts, feelings, and other bodily sensations are interconnected and influence one another.
The field of epigenetics takes mind-body medicine even further with studies showing how our gene expression is influenced by environmental and lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise as well as mindfulness-based practices. Epigenetics5 explores how cells can be turned on or off in answer to your thoughts and, especially, your unconscious beliefs. Thoughts about how much you hurt can increase pain by sending messages to your cells that you are not well while thoughts about healing can increase your body’s innate ability to restore homeostasis.
This science is complementary to what saints, sages, and yogis have taught for centuries. It turns out there is more to faith and a belief in the power of prayer than often supposed.
Shift Your Mindset to Support Natural Healing
Giving thanks for what you have is a great place to begin mindset work. You can use gratitude to shift your thoughts from a hurting to a healing mindset by saying something like… I’m so grateful I have a healthy home where I am safe from viruses and disease. Learn more about the power of gratitude and try three simple gratitude practices to help you heal in my post on the Silver Tree blog.
If you’d like to expand upon the practice of gratitude to shift your mindset, here are some helpful techniques:
- Move Your Body: You might have guessed exercise is part of building a positive mindset. Exercise impacts both the physical and mental health parameters of mood disorders as well as conditions that often accompany these disorders such as insomnia, pain, and anxiety6. So hit the pavement for a solo run or walk, take up an at-home yoga or HIIT challenge, or buy yourself a Peloton!
- Believe in Yourself: You have more talent, wisdom, motivation, and emotional intelligence than you give yourself credit for. Do away with the negative self talk that prevents you from becoming the best version of yourself. This takes self-discipline. If you’re always putting yourself down or limiting what you’re capable of, make a list of all your positive attributes. Ask your friends and family to share what they think you’re great at. This will boost your confidence and shift your mindset about what you can achieve…even while you’re in quarantine.
- Turn Your Fears into Affirmations: The Coronavirus may be contagious but constantly worrying about your risk of infection will only increase your level of stress, pumping cortisol through your body and causing inflammation, which WILL make you more susceptible to any type of disease. Instead of living in a state of constant fear, turn your fear into an affirmation: I am doing all I can to stay happy, healthy, and whole. My body is strong and resilient and easily fights off disease. Repeat your affirmation daily. Print it out and place it on your mirror, your fridge, or on your phone to remind you to put your fears in their place and maintain a positive mindset.
- Raise Your Vibration: You better believe it…the above mindset practices will raise your vibration. Your vibration is the quality of energy within and around you. Do you emit an uplifting, positive vibration or a heavy, negative vibration? You can intuitively feel people’s vibes when you interact with them. The same can be true for your own vibration. When bad news makes you feel heavy, tired, sad, or angry, chances are you’ve lowered your vibration. Alternatively, when something great happens to you…like falling in love…you feel like you’re floating and can conquer the world. You need to find and maintain a lifestyle and environment that helps you increase your frequency. Serving others, giving back, forgiveness, eliminating toxins, exploring nature, and surrounding yourself with other high-vibrational people will help to keep your vibes high and your heart light.
- Develop a Morning Routine: Creating positive habits that develop into lasting routines are key to the success of all of these mindset practices. Incorporate activities that get you up and excited to face the day. Meditation, journaling, exercise, coffee with your partner, or breakfast as a family are all healthy habits for a morning routine that puts you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.
Quarantine Well-Being: Nourish Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
You are what you eat, sure, but you’re also the accumulation of what you feed your mind and soul through your attention. Healthy consumption is vital to healing, most especially during a quarantine where negative news feeds bombard you with more bad news and you might be prone to eat out of boredom. Here are some simple tips to nourish your whole being and support natural healing:
- Plan and Prepare Healthy Meals
What you eat has a major role in proper immune function.
- Eat plenty of plant-based foods to increase your intake of phytonutrients to enhance immunity, boost intercellular communication, provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, repair DNA damage from toxins, and enhance your gut microbiome.
- Eat foods high in probiotics such as fermented vegetables to keep your outermost layer of cells, your epithelial cells, strong and resilient. They are the safety shield of your body.
- Add dietary fiber from whole foods, aiming for 28-35 grams a day.
- Eliminate sugar and other immune disruptors including salt, processed carbohydrates, and saturated fat.
If you’re living with a chronic illness, take advantage of this time to finally try or stick to a detox or anti-inflammatory diet. Dr. Thomas Rau of the Paracelsus Clinic for Swiss Biological Medicine has a wonderful cookbook (The Swiss Secret to Optimal Health: Dr. Rau’s Diet for Whole Body Healing). It outlines a three-week program that can reduce and eliminate toxins, alleviate chronic conditions, encourage weight loss, and boost overall well-being.
- Know the Facts but Guard Your Consciousness
Where your attention goes…your energy flows. If you can think of the flow of your attention as an energetic magnet that goes out and draws back to you the object of your attention, you’ll understand how important it is to guard what you focus upon.
If you’re continuously tuned in to negative news feeds that cause you stress, you’re probably going to feel anxious most of the time. So, go ahead…turn it off. Change the channel. Place your attention elsewhere.
This is not to say you shouldn’t educate and inform yourself as to the risks, the precautions, the recommendations, and the restrictions put in place to protect the public. Just don’t tune in to the rising death toll every waking moment.
- Surround Yourself with Beauty
You’re likely spending all of your time at home, so do some cleaning, decluttering, reorganizing, and decorating so your environment reflects your passions and inspires you to be productive. In other words…raise the vibration of your home.
- Spend Time in Nature
Shelter-in-place orders leave room for outdoor activity, as it’s crucial to mental and spiritual health as well as physical fitness. Find a secluded park or trail near your home and just enjoy the beauty around you. I often find spiritual solace and answers to many of life’s deeper questions when I spend time in nature. Perhaps you will, too.
- Read an Inspirational Book
If you’re feeling down or have a lack of motivation, an inspirational book might do the trick. The options are truly limitless. Try listening to an audiobook for a change of pace.
- Communicate with Others and with Source
Commit to communication. Call your grandma. Reach out to long-lost friends. Start a deep conversation with your teenager. Increase time spent in prayer and meditation where you cultivate a deeper communion with Source.
I don’t know about you…but I’ve found it helpful to begin to look forward to a new normal with the hope that we can intentionally shape how we will carry on together post-quarantine, post-social distancing, post-COVID-19.
In my home and with my family, I’ll choose well-being over the pressures and expectations that have become the norm and contributed to inharmony, negativity, illness, and chronic disease.
Hopefully, this will result in happier, healthier, less hectic lives en masse, turning the COVID-19 pandemic into a learning lesson that will mark a shift to a more holistic, honorable, and intentional way of living in oneness with each other and the planet.
It begins with healing in the body, mind, and soul. I trust these insights and tools will get you started on or accelerate your journey. If you’d like someone to help you navigate, I’m here for you. Uniting science and spirit to support natural healing is my passion.
Contact me at Silver Tree Wellness Center to get started. And if someone you know could benefit from our Services, we’re offering a $25 credit for all new patient referrals.