I think it can be said that life, as we knew it, has been compromised when it comes to thinking about the current pandemic. Whether you are a happy-go-lucky sort with endless bounce or more of a steady-eddy, I think most of us would admit to feeling a little jaded. Nationwide we have waited for the day when the BBC tells us “it’s all over” and most of us have conjured up mental images of life as it used to be. Little did we truly realise that life is probably going to be somewhat different for the foreseeable future and that concept alone can make us feel tired and exhausted. All the rituals we are used to doing automatically have been tweaked – masks, space, handgel, vaccinations, no travel, at times no socializing, no shopping, no tradesmen unless it’s an emergency, no school, medical appointment interrupted – the list is never ending and it comes at a cost to us all and leaves us feeling worn down. So what can we do to try to alleviate some of the negative vibes?
Finally the country is starting to see rewards for all of it’s efforts to mitigate this horrible virus and that means a lot more freedom to go out there and socialize – in a sensible fashion obviously. So being healthy and energized is something of an importance. The summer is finally upon us and this is the time of year for healthy salads and if you are lucky enough, fresh produce from your own garden. Growing your own stuff is something a lot of people took up when first locked down as it was a good opportunity to try out a new hobby that all the family could get involved with and summer fruit and vegetables are relatively easy to grow without having to first qualify with a degree in horticulture. Gardening is a fab form of exercise both physically and mentally and so it’s definitely worth continuing with as the country moves forward and exposure to sunlight is needed to produce vitamin D, so it’s a win-win all round.
It is tempting to arrange lots of trips out to meet up with friends and family we have missed so much over the last year, but a word to the wise, tread carefully, the virus is still out there and it is very much needing to survive and humans are it’s way of doing so. Assuming that your diet is nicely full of fresh fruit and vegetables and good quality protein of either animal or non-animal source then the next step would be to consider supplements. These are not designed at all to replace food but are an extra to boost up your system. Vitamins C and D plus zinc and iron are essential to support your immunity system, a must when trying to fend off viruses of any description. If you are a lover of physical activity, a summer game of tennis, golf game or hiking for example, then looking after your joints should be thought about and that’s where collagen and glucosamine play a role. Collagen offers structural support in muscle, connective tissue and skin and plays a critical role in joint and bone health and helps to boost the immune system by healing the gut. Glucosamine serves as a building block for the development and maintenance of cartilage within the bone joints and assists in helping to reduce pain related to joint stiffness and swelling. If you feel you want to optimize your immunity and bone defences then now might be a time to consider taking a supplement to support your body.
For many people, a difficult side effect of having been isolated for so long is that now we have a little more freedom the thought of going out there and mixing amongst people you don’t know and, therefore, cannot trust to be virus aware, is quite daunting and can feel very over whelming. Planning is key here. Should you find yourself one of these people then take a few moments to plan your trip out. Go out at a time when you are more likely to avoid crowds. Be patient and stand back should you encounter pushy people – let them go first if it makes you feel more easy. Set yourself a time limit so you know it wont be too long before you are back in your own safe environment. If you are meeting a friend for coffee then sit diagonally across the table from them so increasing the distance and not being in direct line. Always remember you can cut your trip short if it’s too intimidating and you can try again another day. Try not to focus too much on the fear of the unseen virus and take time to look around you and enjoy your surroundings. The passage of time has enabled us to look at what used to be familiar surroundings, in new light. Notice changes. Houses and gardens on your journey might have been made over – look with interest and really live in the moment. If you do find it all a little too much, don’t punish yourself. Leave any negative thoughts behind and wait for another day and see that new day as your first trip out. Slowly you will re-adjust, just allow yourself the chance. Remember you are not alone, many people have reservations, they just perhaps don’t advertise it.
At the end of the day, focus on the positives and concentrate on your breathing. A little bit of mindfulness goes a long way to controlling your blood pressure and making you feel a whole lot more in control. If you have a friend who is also struggling, then consider being their buddy and work on ways to control the fear together. Stick to the principles of safety, as promoted by the government and leading scientists and try to ignore any gossip mongering nonsense put out there by less informed bodies and you should be absolutely fine. Enjoy each day in some small way at least as that day will never come again.
Finally, when you rest your head on your pillow at the end of the day place your hands on your tummy and be aware of your breathing. Let any tension you have in your muscles release and start to feel yourself relax. Try not to think about your worries and concerns and just try to empty your mind. You should find yourself drifting off to sleep which is when your body can slot into it’s repair mode. Plenty of sleep boosts your immunity and lack of sleep reduces your immunity so follow a gentle, nightly ritual to help support your health and well being. Avoid all caffeine after 2pm and try to resist using your phone or electronic device for at least 2 hours before bed. Lavender is a plant renown for it’s relaxation properties so using it in a warm bath or in a mist form for your pillow is a great idea. Just try to unwind, relax and sleep and in the words of a beloved national treasure (Captain Sir Tom Moore) who became a beacon of light to us all throughout last year but now sadly lost to us all, “tomorrow will be a good day.”