At the time I’m writing this, we are six months into a global health crisis that has upended life as we know it. The stress of this coronavirus pandemic has reached everyone and everywhere.
Although the coronavirus is a novel virus that scientists are still learning about, I want you to know that there are things you can do to make it less likely you’ll suffer a severe case of COVID-19.
In the video below I’ll share with you three tips that will help you boost your immune system, calm inflammation, and lessen any anxiety you may be experiencing.
Tip No 1: Stay Connected to Loved Ones
The number one way to strengthen your immune system and calm anxiety during this pandemic is to stay connected to a few people who love you and who DO NOT STRESS YOU OUT! Extended periods of isolation are a red flag to our mammalian brains, which have evolved to rely upon the safety and nurturing of our tribes.
So if you’ve been sheltering in place by yourself for the past several months, I recommend that you find two or three people who you can form a small quarantine bubble with.
You may all wish to get tested for Covid-19 before meeting in person for the first time. And even then, consider practicing social distancing whenever you meet. You can still enjoy conversation and company in person, while six feet apart. Meet up for a picnic in the park on Saturday, take your own meals, and spread your blankets a short distance apart… Take a walk and get that body moving, and get some vitamin D from the sunshine. Or host dinner “al fresco” in your backyard and just spread out the chairs a bit. Hopefully, you can meet in person, but if not, Zoom will do the trick!
And if you have been sheltering in place with friends or family, then I’d like to encourage you to think of someone you know who is alone and reach out to them with a phone call or voicemail, letting them know you are thinking of them and just find out how they are doing.
And if you are single and looking for love, please do not let this virus and quarantine stop you! Now is a great time to explore and cultivate new connections, vetting people on zoom, and when you are ready to meet, take that socially distanced walk in the park we were just talking about.
I have been guiding many clients through love during COVID, and they are very busy right now dating up a storm!
Whatever you decide, human connection is truly beneficial to your immune system, so reach out, and stay plugged in with others. And remember to use your Calm App or your own meditation practice on a daily basis to keep yourself calm, positive, and balanced.
Tip No 2: Boost Your Immune System Through Your Gut
Ninety percent of your immune function happens — you guessed it — in your intestines. It’s been all the rage to talk about “leaky gut” syndrome in health circles for a few years now, and it’s true if the lining of your gut wall is being compromised daily by irritants such as gluten, dairy, or sugar, then your body will have a harder time fighting off COVID-19. People with chronic illnesses, diabetes, or heart disease are particularly vulnerable to contracting this virus, so maintaining good gut health through diet is especially important if you have an underlying health condition.
During this pandemic, many of us have slacked off on our diets and exercise, and comfort foods are becoming a daily go-to. But I want to encourage you to hit the reset button and recommit to making healthy eating and movement a priority.
Lots of green leafy vegetables (5 cups a day is great), cutting out legumes, wheat, corn, and dairy, adding in healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, cutting back on those refined sugars will give your gut lining a chance to heal and repair itself.
Adding in friendly bacteria through a quality probiotic supplement and fermented vegetables will cause your microbiome to team with the kinds of microbes YOU NEED, especially during this pandemic.
Tip No 3: Calm Anxiety by Improving Your Vagal Tone.
Actually, most of your moods are a result of, not only brain chemicals like serotonin, but your microbiome, the bacteria and flora in your gut, and other areas of your body. So if you follow the second tip I just gave, you are well on your way to calming any anxiety you may be feeling, stabilizing your moods, and your emotions.
However, you should know about your Vagus nerve, and how it plays a BIG role in your mental wellbeing. Briefly, the vagus nerve, controls the parasympathetic nervous system – the rest and digest system.
The vagus nerve forms a bi-directional “super-highway” between your brain and the majority of your internal organs, and unless your vagus nerve is in good shape and activates readily when it is supposed to, the communication between your brain and your body will be disrupted, causing all manner of problems in your body processes.
Right now, during this coronavirus pandemic, most of us are overstimulated, our nervous systems are maxed out with worries about if we’re going to get it, are mom and dad okay, am I going to lose my job, I lost my job… how do I pay my rent, my business is going under…
All of these very real concerns can create a condition known as chronic stress, and the end result of that is poor vagal tone which negatively impacts the rest of your organs.
So how do you strengthen your vagal tone? Well, there are many excellent ways you can do it, but one FUN way is through your voice box. Your vagus nerve goes from your brain and branches down throughout your body, down, down to your gut and sacrum. But before it gets down there, it makes a pit stop to your larynx.
Vibration from sound stimulates and strengthens this part of the vagus nerve, so chanting, singing, humming, any sounds that create vibration in your voice box, will stimulate and improve vagal tone.
So sing in the shower daily! Or incorporate chanting or humming in your meditation practice. And if you really want to strengthen your vagal tone, end your shower with a cold rinse right on your neck I know that might sound crazy, but cold water is FANTASTIC for your autonomic nervous system, so be brave and end your hot shower with a quick cold rinse. Oh, and one last suggestion – GARGLE daily!! It contracts the muscles in the back of the neck, producing stomach acid to also help with digestion!
And there you have it. Three effective ways that you can boost your immune system, lower inflammation, and calm any anxiety you may be having during this pandemic. Try one out, or all three of them, and then let me know in the comment section below if it helped you.
And if you would like some extra support, then click here to sign up for my FREE once a month for 3 months, Healthy Love Coaching Circle which starts on Sunday, July 19 at 10 AM PST.
This is a group coaching call on ZOOM, where I will go more in-depth about gut health, immune function, Vagus nerve dysfunction, and how to heal the stressors that are impacting your love life and mood. Click here to reserve your spot!