The Mindful Path, Calmness Amid COVID-19

By Marilyn Halpern, LSW, ACSW ~

“Every cell in your body is eavesdropping on your thoughts.” Deepak Chopra

Pandemic panic has infiltrated the fiber of our communities, schools, care facilities and homes.  Everyone has been impacted. It is difficult to ward off feelings of anxiety, helplessness, anger, disbelief and sadness.  Focusing our thoughts on wellness and prevention can have a tremendous impact on boosting our immune system. Mindfulness provides a space to observe the present moment without judgement or fear.  As reported in Translational Psychiatry, national studies have concluded that meditation changes our bodies in a positive way on a cellular level. This includes boosting our immune system. Mindfulness can also help calm the ever-present coronavirus anxiety.

Here are some tips to improve your immune response and support your well-being. 

  1. Prioritize sleep.  Six hours or more of sleep will allow your body to refresh, renew and stay healthy.
  2. Add color to your diet in the form of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.  The USDA recommends eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day to have a positive impact on your immune system.  
  3. Stay hydrated.  Drink lots of water or herbal tea.
  4. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Binge drinking can also be detrimental.
  5. Unplug from the constant barrage of news. Take a break and get outdoors for fresh air and sunshine.  After your walk, watch a comedy. Sun and laugher bolster our immune system. 
  6. Sanitize frequently touched surfaces in your home and car.   Philip Tierno, a clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University’s Langone School of Medicine, recommends 

“Wash your hands before you eat, and leave your phone in your pocket during meals.” As an extra precaution, follow cell phone cleaning guidelines and disinfect your phone at least daily. 

  1. Don’t touch your face. Who knew? It is estimated that people touch their face between 16 and 23 times per hour.  This is a tough habit to break but definitely worth our attention. 
  2. Apply lotion to hands daily to ward off chapping from extra hand washing.
  3. Practice social distancing of six feet.  Although we need to keep our distance, we can extend our smile and positive wishes from afar.  
  4. Wash your hand with soap and water for 20 seconds. The virus is highly transmittable but fortunately can be eliminated with soap and water.  Be sure to clip your nails regularly to minimize germs and viruses.

Dr. Nydia Tijerina, Yoga studio owner and physical therapist, offers a hand washing mindfulness exercise for April.  Gather soap, a towel and possibly a nail brush. Turn the water on. As it warms up, take two deep breaths. Lather up your hands with bar or liquid soap. To conserve water, turn the faucet off using your elbow or the back of your hand.  Continue slow, steady deep breaths as you say silently or out loud-
May we all be safe.
May we all be happy.
May we all be healthy.
May we all live with ease.
Practice good hand washing hygiene. Diligently, wash between your fingers, the back of your hands and your palms. Repeat the mantra twice, then turn the water back on and rinse the soap away.  The time you devote to hand washing allows germs and viruses to be killed. Apply lotion.

Allow mindfulness and stress reduction to improve your immune response. Prevention is the best protection. 

Marilyn Halpern is a geriatric care manager and guardian in the Denver Metro area.  To learn more visit www.aspencareservices.com or call 720-724-0000.


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