As the world grapples with the Coronavirus, and the subsequent fear and overwhelm begin to set in, what are the positives to an outbreak like this, and what can we be doing to help ourselves and others? Perhaps by adopting ways to boost our immune systems and resilience to viruses, the silver lining could be a significant boost to our overall health in the long-term.
This week, I too have found myself feeling unsettled watching the events unfold on the news - in many ways the fear around Coronavirus is as contagious as the virus itself - but are there any positives to an outbreak like this?
When we’re in the grips of fear (or [insert any negative emotion]) it can feel almost impossible to consider a ‘bright side’, or ‘silver lining’, but while it’s not an easy thing to do, searching for the positives during challenging times is one of the best tonics for our mental health.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Viktor Frankl (Psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor and author of ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’)
I’ve got my Dad to thank for teaching me to search for silver linings when the going gets tough, and it’s certainly helped me a great deal in life.
So, what are the silver linings to the Coronavirus outbreak?
In an age of disconnection, it’s highlighted how interdependent and interconnected we all truly are; in an age of busy-ness, it’s forced us all to cancel plans, slow down and rest; in an age of crazy commutes, it’s made us realise that some of us can work more flexibly without the trek to the office; in an age of disregard for the elderly, it’s re-ignited compassion and empathy for the elders in our communities; and in the age of relying on the NHS to ‘fix’ us, it’s inspiring us to take proactive measures with our health in order to stay well.
And with that desire to stay well, if we research and adopt ways to boost our immune systems and resilience to viruses, the wonderful silver lining there could be the ripple effect it would have with our overall health. There are so many things we can all be doing right now to boost our immunity, and in doing so, our health (our energy levels, sleep, digestion, mood) would benefit significantly too. Perhaps the motivator to avoid this virus, could in fact improve our health for the better?
In terms of tips to boost the immune system, actually the core elements from The Body Toolkit Retreats are simple, affordable things that anyone can be doing at home:
1. Eating fresh, healthy food that you’ve prepared yourself
2. Drinking plenty of water – sipping 2 litres of water throughout the day
3. Prioritising good quality sleep and rest – the unsung hero in people’s transformations at the retreats is rest
4. Researching the benefits of Vitamin C, Zinc, Probiotics, Vitamin D and Echinacea – speak to your local health food store
5. Cutting out immune depleting foods and drink – alcohol and sugar are public enemy number one, why not take the opportunity to set yourself a 30-day alcohol-free challenge (Look at OYNB for inspiration www.oneyearnobeer.com)
6. Dosing up on fresh vegetables and fruit – make yourself a juice if you have a juicer, or just make a conscious effort to eat more raw veg and graze on fruit during the day
7. Getting into nature – if you’re lucky enough to live close to a garden, park, woodland or open space, spend time there breathing in deeply
8. Moving your body – walk, dance, stretch, cycle, play and keep the blood moving
9. Minimising the air-time you give stress – stress is an immunosuppressant - so watch less news, limit social media usage, focus on the positives, do things that bring you joy, and breathe deeply
10. Practicing kindness – reaching out to others and offering to help, in any way you can, not only feels great, but it’s also scientifically proven to be good for our health
There are so many things we can all do to boost our immunity, whilst also being conscientious neighbours to those around us - we all have a duty of care to one another at this time. And therein lies the most powerful silver lining of them all, the reminder of how deeply interconnected and interdependent we all are.
The Body Toolkit award-winning retreat programmes share simple, yet powerful things we can all do to nourish the body, reduce stress and help ourselves to thrive. For dates, availability and prices for upcoming retreats: www.thebodytoolkit.com/book-a-retreat