Saturday, May 30, 2020

Quality of Life

Feeling strong and ready to move forward!
This has been a rough time ... for some more than others, but for everyone in one way or another.  We were originally told we'd be on lockdown for only a couple of weeks, then it was extended by most states, and then extended yet again.

I certainly wasn't planning to blog about the quarantine for 3 months in a row, but here we are.  It's reality.  It is something that cannot be ignored.  It is what we're all living through right now.

While some were able to put the time to good use, most folks have had enough and just want to get on with their lives. Even here in Boulder, the majority of people are ready to put this period behind them.

We've held our collective breaths, suspended in time, waiting for the ball to drop.  When do we move?  When do we take action?  When do we resume the lives we left in suspended animation so many weeks ago?  We're feeling the tension of being crouched at the starting line, waiting for the pistol to go off, so we can finally run!

We're all waiting ... for something ... for Governors and Mayors to give us permission, for someone to tell us it's safe to go outside again, for something to happen that releases us from this bondage.

Waiting for something to happen.
It's time to get on with life.  The time is now.  We're slowly understanding that it's never going to be completely safe outside.  It never was.  We're finally realizing that we don't need to ask anyone for permission to get our lives back.  We have to take them back.  Being an adult means that we have to make decisions for ourselves.  We respect authority, but we can't allow that authority to steal our lives or our livelihoods.

This is not at all a political issue.  People of all persuasions are feeling the restraint is much too heavy a burden.  This is an issue of quality of life.

Let me be absolutely clear.  If you are afraid, then stay inside where you feel safe.  Let others run errands for you and buy you groceries.  Ask for help.  Wear a mask.

Quality of life means taking care of yourself.  Every person needs to take care of themselves first, before they can take care of anyone else.  For some people, that means getting outside for a little while each day.  For others it means resuming their lives and getting on with living.  For still others, it means staying home a little longer.

Those who venture forward are taking a leadership role here.  They can show everyone else that the risk in resuming our normal activities is an acceptable one.  That even though life always involves risk, it's always worth it.

Certainly there is fear.  No one wants to get sick with a virus that seems to affect some people so viciously.  But you will never know whether you'll be okay until you step outside.

The healing comfort of human touch.
In the meantime, it's time to restore our humanity.  Human beings crave connection.  We need to gather and exchange conversation, laughter, and hugs. We need to work in order to feel like productive members of society again, contributing to the community in our own way, feeling fulfilled in life.  Studies show that those who are gainfully employed feel the most satisfaction with life.

The moment for many is now.  It's time.  Memorial Day weekend was the traditional (if unofficial) start of summer, and signaled that it is time to get outside, to barbecue, to go on vacation, and get together with friends.

I saw many people visiting with friends and family that weekend ... some very quietly ... lighting up the grill, and celebrating just being together.

We can feel the change in the air, the turmoil in our spirits of being kept cooped up for so long.  Certainly the turmoil in the streets is proof enough that people are fed up, filled with pent-up frustrations, and bursting to get out of their homes.

Humanity was not meant to live in isolation.  We miss the human touch, the physical connection of hugs and kisses.  We cannot live our lives this way ... afraid of others, afraid that other human beings are dangerous to our well-being.  We have become wary of others, we keep our distance, we're afraid of the faces hidden behind the masks, we're afraid of physical touch.  It goes against everything we know as humans.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away?
We need to take care of others, especially our most vulnerable populations, but we are incapable of taking care of others until we take care of ourselves first.  We know this.

Babies will not thrive without touch.  We express ourselves and our love through touching, hugs and kisses.  We lose a little piece of ourselves every time we hold back.  Have these many weeks in isolation stolen a part of us?  It's time to reclaim our humanity, our mental health, and our quality of life ... or life simply won't be worth living.

I don't even want to go there, as the reports are that suicides have spiked during this time of isolation.  For that reason, more than ever, we need to take care of ourselves ... in whatever way that means for each of us.

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it's that we need to be ready for anything.  And that means mentally, spiritually, and physically.  What do I mean?

We know that the only way to prevent or fight illness is by strengthening our immune system.  Now more than ever, we need to work on our health.

Optimizing Our Health

For the most part, you know what to do.  You've heard it all your life.
  • Eat better
  • Exercise
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Spend some time outside in the fresh air and sunshine every day

What else can you do to support your health and strengthen your immune system?

  • See your doctor.  Most physicians are offering telehealth sessions, so discuss your overall health with your doctor to see if you should have any concerns.  Ask for suggestions about what you can specifically do to bolster your immunity during this time. Perhaps your doctor will recommend a certain diet or supplements specific to your situation and needs.
  • Add more green, leafy vegetables to your diet.  Add them to your morning fruit smoothie (you'll barely notice they're there).  Eat more salads.  Saute spinach, kale or chard in a little olive oil and garlic until wilted.  Bake some oiled-and-salted kale in the oven until toasted.
  • Add more herbs to your meals.  Many herbs contain vital nutrients that boost the body's immune system.  Do a little research or consult my sister's book, "Everyday Alchemy: Transformative Cooking with Herbs," to see which herbs might be most helpful for you.
  • Eliminate sugar and other inflammatory foods.  As tasty as all our baked goods definitely are, they are treats and should be treated as such.  This is the time to eat healthy and stay away from extra sugars, processed and high carbohydrate foods.
  • Double- or triple-up on the Vitamin C.  Whatever your body doesn't use is eliminated, and some people swear by its anti-viral properties.
  • Take Vitamin D and spend some time out in the sun.  There seems to be a correlation between sunlight and a reduction of COVID cases.  Whether that's due to the extra Vitamin D people naturally get in sunnier climates, or because the virus doesn't survive well in sunlight, the number of cases seems definitely lower in the southern states along the Sunbelt.
  • Laugh.  A round of hearty laughter boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones, increasing immune cells and antibodies, relieving muscle tension, and improving your resistance to disease.  Laughter really is the best medicine, so make sure to include laughter in your day, everyday.
  • Work on your balance and coordination.  There's a brain-body connection that's vital to your overall health and the optimization of your bodily systems.  That means exercising, or learning a few new dance steps, or any other activity that involves engaging your sense of balance and physical coordination.
  • Play.  Set some time aside everyday to play ... it can be playing outdoors, or a board game with your family, a puzzle or a musical instrument that makes you relax and focus on something other than the news or quarantine.
  • Drink tea or a tonic everyday.  A nice hot cup of tea not only relaxes you and your whole digestive system, which is the body's first defense against intrusion, but also offers many healing properties, as well.  Likewise, an elderberry syrup, or an anti-inflammatory turmeric tonic or golden milk might be just the extra boost your body needs to stay healthy.
  • Sleep 8 hours.  Sleep is when the body heals and repairs itself and any stresses on it.  If your bed is not comfortable, try a complete makeover ... put a featherbed on top, top it with a fluffy down comforter, buy extra pillows or a body pillow to cocoon yourself in.  Whatever you have to do to make your night's sleep the most restful it can be, do it.
  • Hug someone.  Human connection is critical to good health, so no matter who you're in quarantine with, or even if alone, make sure you find someone you can feel comfortable (and safe) hugging to boost your health.  Certainly a pet can fill the ticket temporarily, so give your dog a good hug, too ... but make an effort to get that human touch, if possible.

It's time to get out of limbo.  Whether now or within the next few weeks, all states are starting to reopen.

We humans don't do well in isolation.  There's a reason why it's a punishment to be sent into solitary confinement.  Humans are social creatures, and we need each other more than we know.  We need others for our mental health, for our spiritual health, and for our physical health.

We also need to feel useful, productive and part of a community.  Whether we do it now or in the next few weeks, either way, it's time to get our lives back.  And yes ... I do firmly believe life will get back to normal ... once we get past our fears.

Be well, and stay healthy!


Enjoy previous seasonal blog posts:

Quarantine Chronicles
Getting through this crazy time of self-quarantine together.
The Gift of Seclusion
Taking advantage of this extra time to ourselves.
Never Forgotten
Remembering those who gave everything so that we can live.
Donate if you can!
Healing Warriors Program,
my sister's nonprofit, does very important work for our vets' and soldiers' complete health and wellbeing.
Scones for Spring
An absolute must for a spring brunch or tea party!
The Buzz About Bees
Bees are precious, industrious & endangered. Let's do our part to ensure we don't lose these amazing creatures.
Hello Spring!  Hello Cookies!
Our latest cookbook is out!  A book full of Afternoon Tea's cookie and bar recipes!
My Favorite Mugs
A menagerie of mugs ... one of life's simple pleasures.
Who Really Needs An Egg Plate?
Not me.  But I'm probably going to get one anyway!
Happy Mother's Day!
Wishing all of the Moms out there a very wonderful, healthy and happy Mother's Day!
Mother's Day Tea
A perfect way to celebrate and spend time with our Moms.
Breakfast in Bed
A time-honored tradition for Mother's Day!
A Bridal Shower Tea ...
the perfect way to entertain!
A Baby Shower Tea Party
Celebrating a little one's imminent arrival.
May Flowers
Surrounding yourself with flowers!
Love Tea Sandwiches?
Spring is for Tea Parties, Baby & Bridal Showers, and Garden Parties -- that means lots and lots of delightful tea sandwiches!
First Sign of Spring Quiche
Spring means quiche, at least it does at my house!
Our Current Obsession: French Macarons
Light, airy, delicate pastel puffs of mouth-watering deliciousness
Fruit-Infused Waters
Well beyond lemon, refreshing flavored waters for summer
Sunshine In A Jar
Preserved lemons are a game-changer!
The Soundtracks of Summer
What music will be playing through your head this summer to get you into vacation-mode?
Summer Entertaining ...
the perfect way to entertain.
Camp Summertime!
a.k.a. What did you do during your summer vacation?
The Fruits of Summer
There's fruit in my salad!
Cooking with Herbs
Herbs are making a tasty appearance in some of your favorite desserts!
The Problem with Pesto ...
It's so darned easy, you'll be making it all the time!
The Icing on the Cake
Does a bakery really need to make frosted layer cakes?
What's Your Favorite Cake?
If only I could pick just one!

No comments:

Post a Comment