By Michelle Cochran, Assistant General Manager
As concerns and anxiety rise with the uncertainty of the Covid-19 virus here is a helpful reminder to keep your immune system in check.
- Do not smoke
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
- Get adequate sleep
- The biggie: Minimize stress
I don’t know about you, but my biggest downfall currently is minimizing the stress! This is easier said than done as all media outlets are flooded with negativity stirring emotions of fear. How can I minimize stress with all these thoughts running through my mind? You begin questioning whether you should go to work, whether kids should go to school, to the store, gym, etc. Did I wash my hands long enough? Is my home clean enough? Someone coughed or sneezed and now I am wondering if they are sick. How long will it take before I get sick from this person? Should I quarantine myself just in-case, to protect my family? What is going to happen with my job? Do I visit or not visit the family elders? As you can see this can take a toll on your mind and soul. All this negative energy running through my body makes me feel sick just thinking about all of this!
Stress and negative thoughts weaken our immune systems.
We have the power to change that! Turn off the television, turn off the news radio and social media. I have gone back to basics. Going back to a simpler time when all this information was not so accessible. As a society we were healthier, we had less obesity and we’d be outside participating in sports with our kids, exercising or just taking in the fresh air. We weren’t glued to the television or our phones. Relieve your stress and make it a point to do the following, by yourself or with the ones you love:
Read a book, listen to music, play cards or a board game, meditate or exercise.
I have thrown in some facts below for you to think about…
Examples of unhealthy stress include, mental and emotional stress of any kind: this could be related to constant worrying and repetitive thoughts of a negative nature, and even emotions such as depression and anxiety (Cleveland Clinic, 2017).
Prolonged stress leads to hyper physiological levels of cortisol: this alters the effectiveness of cortisol to regulate both the inflammatory and immune response because it decreases tissue sensitivity to cortisol (Segerstrom, 2006).
As the human body heals, inflammation becomes a response to stress. Like stress, inflammation is beneficial, although when stress becomes chronic, it can lead to constant tissue breakdown and impairment of the immune system.
Take the time to think about just how stressed you are at this moment and start making a plan to disconnect from the unhealthy elements, especially in this time of concern over Covid-19 and the surrounding events. This too will pass with time. We can be vigilant, yet calm. If you have kids, they will see your demeanor and mimic it – so try and take a moment for yourself if you can, and close your eyes, relax. Even if for a moment, to gather your thoughts and realign your priorities.