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Mindfulness During a Pandemic: Essential Strategies for Optimal Living Amidst COVID-19

Dear Advanced Health Community,

I want to first start off by writing that we’ve been thinking about you often, hoping that you’re staying healthy, and doing your best during these unprecedented times.  

Secondly, we have created a series of educational videos to help you and your loved ones not get sick from Coronavirus. Click here to watch them at your convenience. You can also check out our March educational seminar on How Not To Get Sick From Coronavirus

Please know that we are here for you. Our entire team of integrative functional medicine physician, acupuncturist, nutritionist, yoga and behavioral food therapists continues to support new and established clients virtually and in the office. If anyone you know is showing any early signs of sickness, including from COVID-19, we can help prevent them from developing serious illness quickly!  

To mentally prepare for the weeks ahead, we believe the following 10 easy tips you can do to optimize your health amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

  1. Prioritize Forest Bathing. Forest bathing, also called nature therapy or ecotherapy, describes a broad range of techniques or “treatments” to improve a person’s mental and physical health, specifically when present in a natural setting. It is  important to note that you don’t have to be in the woods to gain the beneficial effects of forest bathing. In fact, any green space (i.e. your backyard, a lake, pond, green strip of fragrant grass) will do. One of the safest places to be is amongst trees since they are huge oxygen generators.  The Japanese have clearly demonstrated how healing the outdoors are for the human body, especially the immune system (Dr. Qing Li Viking Press., 2018).

 

  1. Meditation. Now is a great time to add stillness into your daily routine.  Just being yourself to learn how to be a human “BEing” vs. a human “Doer” has a dramatic impact on being well.  When the mind and body sense moments of internal peace and stillness, it rejoices in pure happiness. Just try immersing yourself into your breath when i.e., drinking water with your eyes.  Feel yourself completely empty out your lungs of dead oxygen before you can take your next inspiration.  Just practice 4 slow deep, nasal exhalations and then 4 slow, deep nasal inhalations. Find 20 to 40 minutes of quiet time each day to just contemplate without having the urgency to take action. Since children often love these experiences, do get them on board! For many who have experienced yoga before but have not had the time to fit it in could also add it to the family agenda at home.

 

  1. The StopWatch Tap Technique. As you are well aware, many individuals are experiencing traumatic events. COVID-19 may be triggering some of those feelings again, especially around isolation and loss. Similar to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) used by psychologists and therapists effectively for 30 years to reduce trauma, anxiety, and tension, the tapping technique is very similar and can be done at home.  Tapping quickly and effectively helps decrease anxiety, tension, and stress. Click here to watch Jim Dovonan, TEDx Presenter, demonstrate the StopWatchTapTechnique.

 

  1. The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Like the technique above, EFT is used to reduce stress and anxiety responses in all ages without needing much training. See EFT in action here

 

  1. Change Your Sound Landscape. Another excellent resource is being around relaxing and balancing sounds. Researchers around the world have  discovered certain sounds and frequencies have relaxing and balancing effects for all ages and animals (i.e., your pets), unlike the night-and-day sounds of ambulance sirens. Learn more by checking out the free resource ZenLifeRelax found on Spotify and Youtube. Note: the frequency of 528 is best for lessening anxiety. It can be played safely at a low level all day. 

 

  1. Change Your Smell Landscape. Consider adding immune boosting essential oils or candles to your home environment such as DoTerra’s On Guard, Young Living’s Thieves Oil, Flora Copeia’s Legends, and Vibrant Blue Oils’ Parasympathetic.  They rebalance the nervous and immune systems. Boku, a personal immune candle with Thieves oil blend, is great since it is made from organic coconut wax

 

  1. Experience a Deeply Relaxing Himalayan Salt Cave. Used for centuries in Europe to assist in lung health, salt caves are a gentle but powerful experience for individuals wanting to work at a deeper level to ensure the health and vitality of the lungs.  Since COVID-19 is a lower respiratory tract virus, the two Salt Caves in San Francisco and San Barbara, California, may be extremely helpful options for keeping the lungs strong. Try out a salt cave or Himalyaan Salt Candles as a great alternative.  

 

  1. Laugh. It goes without saying, laughter is the best medicine.  Try sharing funny stories and/or watch funny movies with your family and loved ones.  Do strongly consider dramatically decreasing media exposure since it often triggers fear and shifts us away from focusing on balance, harmony, and love.

 

  1. Reduce Stimulants for Clarity. Unfortunately, caffeine and other stimulants (i.e., Ritalin, chocolate, steroids, nicotine, hormone replacement) can actually trigger brain fog and increasing spikes in stress and anxiety over the long run.  Consider the possibility of taking a holiday from certain stimulants especially during our current lockdown. For example, instead of having your morning coffee/black tea/chai/hot chocolate, have a warm cup of non-caffeinated herbal tea (i.e., green tea rich in immune booster L-Theanine). 

 

  1. Invest in Sleep Quality and Duration. Getting enough rest is one of the most important aspects of having a strong immune system and being healthy. Sleep is an absolute must in order to clear toxins from our body and brains. I encourage you to set a new goal: Plan to go to bed at 10pm every night.  Do awaken in the morning (i.e., by 7 to 8 a.m.) to start off your day right without feeling overly tired or overwhelmed.  



Dr. Bhandari and the Advanced Health Team Are Here to Support Your Health and that of the Planet.

Our expert team of integrative holistic practitioners work with patients suffering from chronic health concerns.  We take the extra step to understand the root cause and how to optimize every organ’s functioning. By better understanding how your environment directly fits into your overall well-being, we create personalized treatment plans which drive away sickness. To learn more and book an appointment, contact Advanced Health or call 1-415-506-9393.



References

Forest Bathing; The Japanese Art and Science of Shinrin-Yokku., Dr. Qing Li Viking Press., 2018

Author
Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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