As we anticipate the coronavirus reaching the peak of infection in the U.S., tremendous uncertainty looms, and with that uncertainty comes stress, anxiety, and fear.
Today I hope to encourage you and to help you release some of your anxieties through actionable steps backed by faith and wisdom. But first, let’s observe our varied and collective reactions.
Some see the coronavirus as nature’s population control, an almost Darwinian unfolding of survival of the fittest.
Others see it as a message from God, a necessary trial to demonstrate where our faith lies.
There’s also the perspective (of which I personally hold) that this coronavirus is yet another sign of enmity between man and nature – humankind’s lack of reverence for the natural world, resulting in perverse conditions of wildlife mixing with humanity and microbes galore.
Of course there’s always the conspiracy theorists who posit that some government or secret society intentionally created this virus to control people, money, politics, etc.
Still others see it as “the great equalizer” that is affecting us all as a nation and as a planet. It’s as if we are all equally affected by this “great equalizer,” and no one is immune to its effects. This could not be further from the truth.
For some people, the coronavirus means that they don’t have to go into the office and can work from home, maybe sleep in a little. The biggest stress is learning Zoom or homeschooling now, but thank God for job security.
For others – millions of others – the coronavirus means sudden unemployment, inability to pay the rent, and utter dependence on government aid. The stress is astronomical for these families.
For others like me who run small businesses, it means constant adaptation, decisions, and hard choices… week by week, day by day; choices that affect our valued staff and employees, their livelihood, our livelihood, our clients, and the entire structure of the businesses that we have lovingly, intentionally spent years cultivating into a wonderful place of service for our clients.
For the majority of the population, the actual coronavirus infection means nothing more than a few uncomfortable days in bed, complete isolation, and lots of Netflix.
And for a small but most significant some, the coronavirus means suffering and death. This some is by and large the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.
So the coronavirus is in no way the great equalizer. Some people’s biggest concern is the lack of toilet paper. Others are dealing with their family businesses going bankrupt right before their eyes. And still others are making funeral preparations.
All that being said, I do believe the coronavirus IS, universally, something else:
It is a great disruptor and a deliverer of tremendous uncertainty as it screeches most everyone to a halt and begs the question:
HOW WILL WE HANDLE THIS UNUSUAL TIME?
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I’m big on HOW. How we say things, how we do things, how we react to things. Our “How” defines our entire lives, perhaps even more than our “Whats” or “Whys”.
HOW are we responding to the data on the viral spread?
HOW are we eating to support our immune function?
HOW are we using our time at home?
These are what I see as the 3 “How’s” characterizing our collective and individual responses right now:
1. Calmly & Wisely
2. Nonchalantly & Cavalierly
3. Fearfully & Anxiously
As the days of the pandemic and economic shutdown drag on, a great many people are feeling fearful and anxious. It’s palpable.
And it’s ok to feel this way – we all are feeling it in some way, to some degree. But it’s neither healthy nor beneficial to stay in that place of anxiety and fear and to keep feeding it with more information, more data, more podcasts, more empty Instagram posts, more news, endless news, sensational news, scary news, sad news.
And even though it’s so bad for our peace of mind, even though it’s wrecking our sleep and escalating our anxiety, even though it’s making our necks and shoulders tense and we’re feeling more irritable and antsy, the biochemistry of addiction still plays out, the dopamine hits still fire, and we just. can’t. stop. scrolling. through. our. phones.
If the coronavirus is the great disruptor, then we all need to respond to the disruption with a meaningful pause. Stop. Collect yourself. Breathe. Keep breathing. Dig into your faith. If you’re not a faith-based individual, then tap into the power of positive thinking.
The times call for adaptation, not complaints, not anxiety, and certainly not fear. What I do is recognize the fear, but then I replace it with faith in a God who’s been through pandemics and cosmic shifts since time immemorial. Whether or not you consider yourself a spiritual person, engage in positive action. FEAR PARALYZES, BUT DIRECTED MOVEMENT EMPOWERS AND LIBERATES.
If the coronavirus has hit our brakes and brought us to a screeching halt in our workplaces, routines, and plans, then again, HOW will we use this “brake” time?
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In medical science when we talk about stress and how the human brain and body respond physiologically to stressors, we always talk about ADAPTATION. The key to surviving is adaptation. The key to thriving is efficient adaptation. The quicker you adapt, the better you’ll get through difficult circumstances.
Here’s how to adapt, so that you can move from fearful and anxious to calm and wise, right now.
Whether it’s your health condition or your financial condition, assess. Collect your data. See what your risk is, what your liabilities are, and what steps need to be taken to minimize and mitigate your losses.
You need to act. Remember the serenity prayer: God,
grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things that I can, and wisdom to know the difference. What action can you take? Instead of just waiting for $1200 from the government, you can:
*Apply for a small business loan. There’s the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. There’s also the newly rolled out Paycheck Protection Program to help small business owners with their overhead, rent, payroll, etc.
*Call your landlord or mortgage lender for a forbearance or deferment on your payments.
*Do the same with all your credit card companies, auto finance companies, student loan lenders, and anyone else you pay on a monthly basis.
These are unprecedented times, creditors are working with their clients. Why allow your credit to be adversely affected if you can do something about it in advance? (Just be prepared to do paperwork and extremely long wait times on the phone).
You need to move your physical body. Movement builds up your immune system, sharpens your mind, and releases stress and tension. I shared the YouTube channels I subscribe to for awesome at-home yoga and HIIT workouts in my last blog.
Your body and brain are designed to function off of whole, nutrient-dense foods with lots of natural pigments (phytonutrients), good fats, and clean proteins. Aim to eat a rainbow every day. Platefuls of leafy greens. Cut back on the sugar and refined carbs – these suppress your immune function. FOOD IS MEDICINE. Good foods have protective and curative properties. Bad foods cripple your immune defenses, inflame your gut, make you feel more depressed and anxious, and weaken your body’s ability to adapt to stress. So make the wise choice and eat healthy.
We all can use a boost with supplements. If you’re stressed, eating poorly, or fighting an infection, supplements are downright necessary. If you need immune support click here or read my previous blog. In response to everyone’s increased anxiety lately, here are excellent supplements to calm anxiety and to improve your stress adaptation response.
Pure Tranquility Liquid – a succinct blend of l-theanine, GABA (calming neurotransmitter), and glycine to calm your nerves and decrease anxiety. Also effective at helping with sleep. This is a fast-acting, pleasant-tasting liquid you can take day or night.
Magnesium Glycinate – A must-have for anyone who feels stressed, tense, or anxious. Magnesium is THE calming mineral for our brains and bodies and is essential for an efficient stress response. It relieves headaches, muscle tension and twitches, constipation, and insomnia. 80% of people are magnesium deficient, and stress rapidly depletes our bodies of magnesium. If you struggle with constipation, take Magnesium Citrate – it has all the calming benefits of magnesium but the citrate form helps regulate bowel movements.
Daily Stress Formula – a very popular formula designed to promote mental relaxation, support brain function, protect immune function, and help counteract the effects of stress. A great formula for daily use.
Support Adrenals – an intelligently designed formula for “Adrenal Fatigue” characterized by fatigue, irritability, weight gain, brain fog, low (sex) drive, and low mood typically caused by stress and lack of quality rest and foods. Helps combat stress, alleviate fatigue, support healthy brain and adrenal function, regulate the HPA-axis function (your brain-to-body stress messaging system so that you have an appropriate physiological response to stress), support immune function, and counter the negative effects of stress.
*contains low-dose DHEA and pregnenolone for long-term adrenal support
6. PRAY & MEDITATE.
I do both. Prayer aligns me with God as I enter into His presence and peace. Meditation restores my body and sharpens my brain. Both help me REST. Do whatever aligns with your beliefs. Both are backed by science to help reduce anxiety and stress. (This is the book that helped my meditation practice).
I believe we can all have peace that surpasses all understanding. We aren’t promised quick relief or every prayer answered, but we can have love, power, and a sound mind through these uncertain times.
Feel free to share this with your family and friends.
Peace & Wellness,
Dr. Jamie, Ph.D.
If you would like to schedule an online consultation with Dr. Jamie, Ph.D. to address your anxiety, fatigue, hormone imbalance, GI problems, or any other health concern, simply call our office at 562-789-1588 or schedule online for a Functional Medicine consultation. (select Wellness or Integrative from Mobile Device)
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