This is where we are in this moment on Earth. We are all on this magnificent planet together.
Looking down from the moon onto our planet, how do we look?
2020 changed our lives forever. The current COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant adjustment for everyone worldwide and has increased stress levels as a result. These stresses cross all areas of life – economic, business, employment, artistic expression (if you work in the Arts Economies), connecting and collaborating in a community (now done over Zoom) and health and wellbeing leveling up in our daily health practices as we seek to avoid transmission of the virus while addressing the inflammatory co morbidities that the CDC and WHO note cause deaths WITH COVID. To achieve a life balance while we make our way through all this uncertainty is the key for recovery. How do we do that when we lose our job, and our business cannot trade due to lockdowns and restrictions? Fear places our bodies into flight or fight which over time, is an inflammatory response, which can aggravate known disease or contribute to the development of new ailments over time.
During this time of uncertainty, we often feel like we need tools and strategies to achieve a life balance. These coping strategies are simply adaptations for a broken system. So while we need Self Care, we also need to understand how our system broke in the first place. These 8 Stepping Stones to Self Care are a starting point as you navigate through the changes in 2020 and beyond.
Let’s start with your breathing. Stop and focus on your breath. Just for a moment.
Each system in your body depends on oxygen. From digestion through to cognition, healthy breathing can not only reduce your stress levels which thanks to COVID 19 are at an all-time high, can provide you with a greater sense of mental clarity, improve your body’s immune response, digest food more efficiently and can also help you sleep better. There are many Breathing practices available which have demonstrated to regulate the sympathetic nervous system, or the part of the body that controls breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. Check Out https://www.wimhofmethod.com/breathing-exercises as a place to begin.
Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.
Benefits include positive mood and outlook, resilience, emotional health, enhances self-awareness, expands capacity of self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns, and even increases pain tolerance. Check out https://www.deepakchopra.com/podcast/ to get a meditation experience.
Are gyms closed? Can we get out and walk as usual? If we can, great. If we cannot, then we need to keep moving to maintain flexible bodies. We need to stay match fit. We need to stretch and move and build our physical resource to expand our capacity for a much-changed world. We need a strong core – literally and metaphorically. Pilates and Yoga are two practices that people worldwide find hugely beneficial. More information here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilates https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga
Sleep deprivation activates the sympatho-adrenomedullary system, stimulating the release of catecholamines. Chronically elevated cortisol and adrenaline drive the stress response, which can suppress the immune response, limit tissue repair, and reduce memory consolidation and cognitive function.
- Try for 6-8 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period and keep a regular sleep-wake schedule; If there is a need to nap, the nap should be approximately 20 min.
- Reduce light exposure 30 minutes prior to going to bed to reduce alertness and, if possible, switch electronics to “Night” or “Do Not Disturb” Mode.
- Reduce caffeine, alcohol, and large meals prior to bedtime. While exercise is great, avoid vigorous exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
- Practice relaxation behaviours such as a bath or a shower or even a sauna which promote peripheral vasodilation.
- Move all technology out of your bedroom.
- Read a book before sleep.
- Implement a Bedtime Morning and Night Ritual check out Hal Elrod and The Miracle Morning
According to Gary Martin of Living Valley Springs, “Your body is designed to win, if you provide the right conditions.” Inflammation is the number one cause of disease. A regular detox practice will help to minimise inflammation. Elimination through Colonics, resting your organs by Fasting, stimulating your liver to remove toxins through massage and supplementation, improving circulation through movement, breathwork and exercise, rebuilding your body with nutrition. Check out Living Valley Springs a Health retreat based in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, as an introduction to be benefits of detox.
In order to rebuild and recover, we need to have the physical and health capacity to be able to face the changes that 2020 has brought. Good nutrition is vital in our ability to resource ourselves. Wikipedia says “Nutrition is the science that interprets the nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes ingestion, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion.
The diet of an organism is what it eats, which is largely determined by the availability and palatability of foods. For humans, a healthy diet includes preparation of food and storage methods that preserve nutrients from oxidation, heat or leaching, and that reduces risk of foodborne illnesses. The seven major classes of human nutrients are carbohydrates, fats, fiber, minerals, proteins, vitamins, and clean pure water. Check out the recipes shared by Pete Evans to get you started.
How different do we feel when we place ourselves in Nature? Sit on the beach, swim in the ocean, walking through a tree filled park, climbing a mountain, sitting under the stars, watching a sunset. Sunshine, Fresh Air, Pure Water and time away from Electro Magnetic devices so that our bodies can attune to the natural frequency around us is key to our health and wellbeing. Your body entrains to the vibration of the nature around it. Dip into The Nature Fix by Florence Williams to know more
We couldn’t connect in 2020. Not like we usually do. The connection became digital. Connections across the globe changed overnight. The value of connection to self, mission, purpose, significant other, family, community and to a cause is paramount to our wellbeing. Understanding your values and having a strategy to process whatever experiences you may have in your life will determine your ability to rebuild, recover and reimagine your life post COVID. Dr John F Demartini offers ancient wisdom in his educational curriculum. His website is a treasure trove of resources.