We are coming up on ONE YEAR of the pandemic. I know we all have pandemic fatigue. We are on the home stretch and we have either had Covid or are getting the vaccine. Here are some reminders of things you can do to keep your mind and body healthy. For well rounded health, focus on these 5 pillars of wellness:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Aim for 9-13 servings per day of a variety of types for a wide array of phytonutrients to enhance the gut microbiome.
- Consume dietary fiber, a minimum of 28-35 grams daily, preferably from whole foods.
- Eat fermented vegetables or other probiotic-containing foods to maintain epithelial health and gut barrier function.
- Reduce or avoid immune offenders such as added sugars and salt, high-glycemic foods (including processed carbohydrates), and excessive saturated fat.
- Monitoring stress levels through biofeedback markers such as heart rate variability (HRV) may assist in knowing when to implement stress management strategies such as breath work and meditation.
- Practicing stress-modifying techniques on a regular basis can result in greater resilience when confronted with stressors.
- Good quality, sufficient quantity (seven to eight hours) and adequate deep phasic bouts of sleep is of utmost importance as part of immune maintenance, as well as during times of recovery from illness.
- It is advised to have good sleep hygiene and maintain consistent sleep hours by turning off screens, ensuring the room is cool, quiet, and dark, and setting reminders to go to bed on time.
- A personalized exercise program can be designed even during homestay by utilizing features in one’s home environment, including apps, the internet, and technology, or by taking the opportunity to experience the calming, immune-supportive effects of being in nature (while, at the same time, social distancing).
- Encourage reduced exposure to interactions perceived as hostile and non-supportive and, at the same time, emphasize and encourage spending time with people who are positive or affirming.
- For those people who may be lonely or isolated, as well as those who may be at increased risk of immune compromise, recommend regular social connection as a routine. Ideas might include participating virtually in local community events or outside time with friends.
With love and gratitude,
Dr. Jackie Fields