10 Tips to Staying Mentally and Physically Healthy During This Pandemic By Dr. Will Cole
The current state of the world has put most of us on high alert. We are stressed to the max and concerns that we never used to have are at the forefront of our minds. The importance of sanitization, social distancing, and a healthy immune system mean more to us than they ever have before.
As a functional medicine practitioner, I want to help people achieve optimal wellness, naturally - and that includes both physical and mental health. These are my top tips for all-around healthy living during this unique time in our history.
1. Bookend your days with mindfulness
How you start and end your day can set the tone for everything that happens in between. With everything going on right now in the world it is easy to get sucked into the negative. Taking the time to pause with a mindfulness routine can help you be prepared to take on whatever life throws at you rather than being a victim of your circumstances.
2. Target your supplements
While food is foundational, certain supplements can really give our immune health that extra boost it needs right now. My favorite combination is vitamin C and zinc which have both been shown to help fight off colds as well as shorten the length of illness. And when taken together, zinc works to boost the effectiveness of vitamin C.
3. Sip on some tea
Whether it is hot or iced, tea is good for your soul. Not only does tea taste amazing, it has some equally amazing health benefits. In fact, tea has some of the highest levels of antioxidants than any other superfood. Herbal tea has a ton of varieties so you’ll never get bored and it is relatively inexpensive. Some of my favorites include hibiscus and lemon balm for their vitamin C content, green tea for antioxidants, and peppermint to help alleviate sinus pressure and ease an upset stomach.
In order to really reap the benefits of these immune-supporting antioxidants it is recommended to drink 4-6 cups of tea per day. I personally love Pique Tea for their high-quality sourcing (ensuring maximum bioavailability) and their convenient tea sachets, making it super easy to get in those multiple cups per day.
4. Experiment with essential oils
Diffusing essential oils is a great all-natural alternative to scented candles for creating a relaxing environment while also boasting a variety of health benefits. Some of my favorites include:
- Tea Tree: a multi-purpose antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial.
- Eucalyptus: A great antimicrobial, it also helps to clear up congestion in the chest and sinuses.
- Frankincense and myrrh: When used together they have powerful antimicrobial abilities.
5. Drink bone broth
There’s a reason why chicken soup was the common remedy for many of us when we were sick as children. Now the chicken soup you buy in the store is made with basic chicken stock but back in the day it was made with bone broth. Made from simmering the bones of chicken at least 8 hours, bone broth is filled with nutrients like glycine, glucosamine, gelatin, and other minerals that work to heal your gut - which is especially important considering close to 80% of your immune system is located in your gut!
6. Smudge your living space
Smudging, or the practice of burning dried plants like palo santo, has been around for thousands of years as a way to cleanse areas from negative energy. Whether or not that concept it too New Age-y for you, there are many studies that show the health benefits of smudging for killing airborne bacteria.
7. Put down the phone
With most of us in quarantine right now, we have more than enough time to endlessly scroll social media. But this constant stream of information, comparison, and news can contribute to some serious stress and anxiety. Giving yourself some screen-free time away from your phone, computer, and tv can help calm your mind and ease your stress levels.
8. Declutter your space
In addition to putting down your phone, decluttering your space can also help to clear your mind. If you have yet to try out the KonMari method this will help to clear out your outer and inner spaces.
9. Fill your home with nature
Spending time in nature has been shown to have some next-level health benefits. Even though we are confined to our homes more than normal, bring the outside in and surround yourself with plants, rocks, water features, or crystals for a soothing nature-inspired environment.
10. Enjoy an epsom salt bath
Epsom salt baths are a great way to destress and detox your body from toxins to encourage a strong immune system. They also contain magnesium which is the fourth most abundant mineral in our bodies, but close to 50-90 percent of us are deficient in. Help prep your body for a restful nights sleep with an evening epsom salt bath. Add in some essential oils for added health benefits and relaxation!