Bleak Outlooks – Winter 2020
So, how is everyone coping with Lockdown Mark II? I am trying to maintain a positive outlook on life, and feel grateful that we are not in Melbourne with stricter lockdown requirements, or indeed in the US or Europe, where the number of those sick or dying of COVID-19 are far higher than we have experienced here. We are, indeed, lucky. Whilst in the middle of feeling like we are going nowhere, however, it is difficult to feel appreciative of this.
What we can do to cope with difficult times:
In clinic, I am seeing a lot of stress, difficulty sleeping, comfort eating, and increased alcohol consumption. These are normal manifestations of stress and to be honest, during the first lockdown, I considered some degree of “letting go” to be normal. The problem occurs when the letting go becomes the normal, and our normal ability to cope with daily life becomes impaired.
Whilst I am hopeful that this lockdown will indeed end in mid-September, which gives us the opportunity to get back into a more normal routine, there are a few habits which may be worth adopting now.
- Eat real food.
- Exercise daily.
- Address stress
It is super important to eat some fresh salad, vegetables and fruit every day. The tendency to stock pile (and then consume) processed food does not help our weight, sleep or stress habits. We are lucky in Australia, in that there is a lot of local producers of quality fruit, veg and meat and we should take advantage of that and eat fresh local foods every day. You don’t have to cook from scratch every meal (although that would be good for you), but have salad with every lunch, and fresh vegetables with every dinner. And having a bowl of berries instead of donuts for afternoon snack can be satisfying and healthy.
Get outside. I have seen more people walking since March than ever before and it’s great. Go for a walk Every Day. If it’s sunny (please, be sunny!) get outside and enjoy that joy. Walk with friends – it’s a great way to socialise whilst maintaining physical distancing appropriately. There are a heap of free body weight or pilates or yoga routines online which you can also do at home, and the more you move, the better you will feel.
I have to admit, I am a meditation gumby. I am not very clever at sitting and doing nothing. But I do love to listen to a short meditation practice at night, to help quiet my monkey mind. My current faves are Smiling Mind (because they are Australian), and Tara Brach’s meditations (she has a lovely voice and her cadence lends itself well to calm breathing). You don’t have to take up sitting and meditating for an hour every day. Just five minutes is helpful, and you can do with your kids. It’s a great practice and will help you to feel more able to see the day clearly.
I love sleep. I am a sleep watcher, I have a Whoop strap and it tells me (in a faintly nanny-like tone) if I have not had enough sleep. I aim for good levels of REM and Deep Sleep and generally find that I achieve them more regularly when I go to sleep at the same time every night, and don’t drink. Yep, I said it, alcohol has an impact upon my quality of sleep and recovery, even just 2-3 wines. So now I ask myself if I want to sleep well, or have a drink, and I now drink rarely as a result. Everyone is different, but it can be worth taking note of the habits which stop you from waking feeling refreshed, as this will impact upon your immune system and your ability to cope with stress.
Which leads us to stress. This is a big issue at the moment. Many people are experiencing a sense of anxiety or dread, with the feeling that the world is out of control. The thing is, we can’t control everything. We never could. It may be helpful to take back the focus from trying to manage all the outcomes in our sphere, and just concentrate upon a few small things within your own life. Breathe. Walk. Sleep. Smile.
I have a dispensary full of herbs and nutrients specifically aimed at helping people with stress and anxiety. I can’t make it go away, but sometimes, applying good lifestyle choices and getting some help with some adaptogenic or nervine herbs, can give you the breathing space to get on with a better quality of life.
As a remedial massage therapist, I am permitted to do massage, as long as we adhere to the protocols relating to COVID, such as:
- Please don’t attend clinic if you are unwell, or have been in contact with anyone who is unwell
- I will be maintaining a high level of hygiene in the clinic, to endeavour to reduce any risk of infection
- We are reducing the numbers of people in the clinic at any one time, to reduce risk
- If the consultation can be done online, ie. Naturopathic discussion, please book this.
- Delivery of products: I can arrange for delivery for a small fee, dependant upon distance.
Obviously I am treating immune support at this time. My recommendations from earlier in the season still stand – I am a strong advocate of taking vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D, and a selection of herbs specific to your needs, in order to maintain good mental and physical wellness. For help in finding help in staying well this pandemic season, please make an appointment for an online consultation. I am happy to talk.