Today, the news and our social media feeds are filled with paranoia and stories about the latest illness spreading around the world.
The possibility of it coming to a community near you increases each day. So, how do you prepare for possible disruptions in your lifestyle, support your immune system, and stay sane in the meantime?
Here are 10 cool ways to prepare yourself:
1. Yo! Wash your hands. The experts from the Centers of Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health have continuously stated that the single most important thing we can do to prevent illness is to wash our hands. Using hot to warm water, regular soap, and washing for 20 seconds or more anytime you think you might be exposed to something infectious and/or before you eat or touch your face. Scrubbing for 20 seconds or more, the physical movement of your hands against each other is key.
An easy way to practice thorough washing: grab your favorite smelling soap and sing the ABCs while you wash your hands with it.
2. Do not touch your face, eyes, or mouth. Touching our faces is one of the simplest ways to get in contact with contagion. You might be surprised how frequently you touch your face. Begin the practice of not touching eyes, mouth, or face without washing your hands or at all. If you must touch your face, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly first. If you are feeling antsy, try Kirtan Kriya with your fingers to keep them busy.
3. Stock up on a month’s worth of prescription medicines and have a working thermometer on hand. If you regularly use prescription medicine, experts recommend having an extra month’s worth on hand in case of emergency. In addition, having a working thermometer at the ready is important if you are concerned you might be sick.
4. Eat well, sleep well, drink water. It goes without saying that taking care of yourself in all ways is super important in staying well during times of widespread illness. Exhaustion, malnutrition, and dehydration do not help you be prepared to fight illness, quite the opposite. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and organic meats. Limit the amounts of sugars and processed foods you eat. Increase your water intake so you are sufficiently hydrated.
Finally, truly look at your sleep habits to see if you need to spend a little more time with your head on the pillow each night. If you are struggling with sleep add some lavender or Roman chamomile essential oils to your bedtime diffuser.
5. Practice mindfulness and yoga. Yoga moves the body and invites in strength and stability. The emphasis on breath and movement can support the body from head to toe. Try some extra twists or sun salutations for moving your body or linger a little bit longer in savasana.
Plus, both mindfulness and yoga have the side benefit of relaxation and calm which can be helpful during times of fear and concern. Check out the new mindfulness album by RZA if you do not have a regular practice or are looking to change things up a bit.
6. Look at natural tools to support your immune system. In addition to all the western medicines your physician suggests, look into some alternative tools to add to your arsenal. Essential oils such as clove and oregano can offer immune support. Herbalists recommend elderberry syrup and fire cider. Add in some extra vitamin D or utilize antiviral homeopathy.
Check with your local Ayurvedic practitioner, traditional Chinese medicine doctor, or naturopath for more recommendations.
7. Keep in touch with your elderly and single friends. It’s easy to isolate ourselves when we are fearful. Check in with people you know who might not have partners or family to support them. Give your elderly neighbors a call and remind them they can connect with you.
8. Limit your exposure to social media. Much of what we see in our social media news feeds is either not factual or is opinion-based. These kinds of posts can increase your fears and often are not helpful. Spend time reading doing something that actually inspires you. Pick up a book of poetry or a novel by your favorite author.
9. Utilize known expert sources for information. The Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health are the best places to find out medical facts. Dr. Andrew Weil is a terrific source for integrative medicine information, or in other words, the link between Western and alternative medicine.
10. Don’t panic, be cautious but keep on with the joys of life. When things happen in the world that can affect us, many people stop doing the activities that make us smile, happy, and laugh. Go for walks in the woods, watch funny movies with your kids, bake bread, have a dance party to Beyoncé in your living room. Keep enjoying your life and increase the things that make you happy.