How I Am Living Through The COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated: Mar 18
Boy aren't we all experiencing a new normal?! Unprecedented times for sure. I hope you are avoiding a fear-based mindset, staying safe, and of course, healthy!
A little back story here, I didn't always want to be a health coach or consultant. When I graduated from college, I had the intention of taking a year off of school due to exhaustion and burn out from finishing my bachelor's degree in 3 1/2 years with no semesters or summers off - whew! I planned to enter into graduate school in order to earn a master's degree in public health with a specialization in epidemiology. Yep, I sure did.
I did my undergraduate internship with the county's local epidemiology nurse and you bet your biceps that disease surveillance and investigation was my jam. Protecting the globe from infectious disease outbreaks in order to AVOID A PANDEMIC was where I was headed. Super geeky right? I know. Had I stayed on that path, I would be working for the CDC or possibly the WHO and up to my ears in the middle of the current COVID-19 crisis.
But my plans changed, drastically. I didn't get into my graduate schools of choice in my first attempt and decided to try again the following year. In the meantime, I uprooted and moved to Northern Virginia with no job, no money, and no place to live. But I did have a few friends and all the ambition in the world to make something of myself and become fully financially secure.
I already had my personal training certification, some training experience, and my degree in Human Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise made it very easy to get a job in the fitness/wellness area. I needed to eat and pay my rent which I was able to do without issue but I bounced around a few places finally stumbling upon a very big box gym where I began to plant some roots.
After about 6 months there, I was on a fast track to success and realized that I had no interest in going back to school yet. In fact, I was starting to get addicted to the passion that was growing in me to help people PREVENT themselves from getting sick vs. helping them solely once they actually got sick. GAME CHANGER!
So, in essence, I started with the desire to be a disease detective and ended up as a health detective where instead of focusing on the disease and the root causes of its behaviors, I now focus on the human body and the root causes of its health problems.
So here I am writing to you today about an unprecedented time in human history including some things that I am doing to PREVENT myself from getting ill.
Remember and remind yourself that your God-given immune system is a powerful army. I mean REALLY powerful. And the more you support your soldiers and generals and maintain your ammo and machinery, the harder and more powerful they are all going to fight FOR you when you need them to.
THAT IS YOUR SECOND GREATEST ASSET IN A TIME LIKE THIS.
Your first asset (or liability-whichever you choose) is your MINDSET. Your mindset controls your stress and your stress controls so much about your body's systems including your immunity, digestion, nervous system, metabolism, and nearly everything else.
Fear shatters your immune system. I know that from personal experience. So don't panic about all that is happening right now. Don't what if yourself to death. Control what you can and do not worry about what you cannot. Be very realistic about what you can control.
What you focus on expands. This will end at some point. If you need help, ask for it. If you are struggling, talk to someone. We are all in this together and we will get through it. Be grateful for what you have available to you now and focus on the present. There are a lot of very good things that are going to come out of this pandemic.
Here are the things that I am trying to do consistently to keep from contracting the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and other viruses:
-Manage my media consumption - This is huge because minimizing my stress is one of my biggest health priorities behind diet and sleep. I don't keep the news on in the background or read it every hour or two. The more I consume it or social media the worse I start thinking or feeling. I am informed but not constantly so or OVER informed. If I don't protect my mindset and work to stay focused on the positive, what I am grateful for, and what I can control I get into troublesome thinking and feel discouraged, depleted, worried, and unsafe. And there's just no time or energy for that!
-Make a point to be in contact with people daily. I am connecting with someone I haven't spoken to in a while each day, ideally three but being that I am on Mom duty all day, three a day is a good goal. I check-in and see how I can help them or just find out how they are dealing with the current situation. This has benefits on both ends of the relationship in lots of ways and makes me not feel so distant from people.
-Stick to a routine. This is pretty easy since I stay at home with my toddler anyway but if I didn't do that sticking to the routine would super necessary to stay on task and be productive each day. Waking up and going to bed at the same time, keeping meals at the same time, getting fully dressed (meaning out of your jammies most days), etc.
-Go to bed early. I strive to be in bed between 10-10:30pm. I turn off the tv, tablet, computer, and phone at 9:15pm otherwise, I don't sleep well because my brain doesn't shut down soon enough for me to fall asleep and get my 8 or 9 hours of sleep before its go time again. This is a non-negotiable area of my health and has had transformative benefits to helping me heal from PTSD, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder on top of near adrenal failure. Getting those zzz's early in the evening makes a world of difference to your physical health friends!
-Pray. Every morning this aspect of my routine sets up my heart and head to embrace and power up for the day. The days I miss it are by far harder and I am not the woman I want to be in any shape or form. This also gives me the time to pray for and over the people I have connected with the day before and THAT is powerful.
-Get outside for 1-2 hours every day. This is a big one specifically to help keep my respiratory system and body's cells from recycling "old" stale air, dust, and pollutants from my household air. Not only does it just reset and refresh my mind and spirit but my body just feels better with all the exposure to the negative ions and calming energy that nature brings. Sunny days are a bonus thanks to some vitamin D exposure and planting my bare feet in the grass and doing some earthing/grounding is especially fantastic for my emotional and mental health. Nature is such an awesome healing agent.
-Avoid refined sugar. Okay, this is not new for me but is especially pertinent when we are looking at immunity. When you consume sugar, your immune system's activity DECREASES for up to 12 hours. So if you are eating it multiple times throughout the day your system is never really battling for you with all of its capabilities. High fructose corn syrup is by far one of the worst forms of sugar for your immune system as is maltose, glucose, or dextrose. I stick to natural forms of sugar if I am going to have it in the form of fruit, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup or organic liquid stevia which is sweet but has no sugar.
-Walk. Walk. Walk. One thing that changed a lot for me when I started working from home and then when I started to be a work from home mama is that I didn't get in nearly as many steps daily because my environment was much smaller. I am not a huge fan of wearable technology to track steps but I do carry my phone on my person and Samsung is pretty snappy and accurate to track my steps so I can walk and track my steps daily AND IT IS HIGHLY ACCURATE. Walking is the single best type of exercise you can do.
-Use my Nasopure nasal wash daily. Viruses have to breach your protective barriers to infiltrate your system which is why touching your face, nose, eyes, etc. is to be avoided to not spread disease. This helps to clean and clear out your nasal region to help keep the germs out!
-Use Xlear nasal spray. This stuff is great for serving as an additional shield to defend your nasal membranes from being penetrated by viruses and other germs.
-Consume fermented foods at each meal. Fermented foods are the natural form of probiotics and are more bioavailable (ie; easily utilized by your body) than in pill, powder or potion forms. Probiotics help support your immune system exponentially so! One tsp to one TBSP per meal is enough, start low and slow to give your body a chance to get used to the added support.
-Use probiotic topical spray on my skin. We are made up of more bacteria than anything else and the more anti-bacterial we use the less good bacteria we have to fight the bad bacteria we come in contact with. I use products from www.2probioticpower.com.
-Wash my hands for 20 seconds while humming the ABC's/Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or recite The Lord's Prayer because there is certainly a need for lots of prayer during a pandemic, am I right? Ideally I use regular Castille soap (not antibacterial soap) and warm water, the humming of the songs stimulates my vagal nerve (the largest nerve in the body) in order to increase vagal tone and lower an elevated level of stress by stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system. This is the rest and digest part of the nervous system. Even 20 seconds of this can help calm and center me.
As for soap, I carry around a small 1 oz. bottle of Dr. Bronner's liquid soap in my bag because nearly all commercial soaps you find in public restrooms are full of chemicals. If it goes on my skin, I have to be able to eat it, that's my rule. I don't have the ability to detox those chemicals well with the MTHFR gene mutation that I have. I also use Thieves essential oil hand sanitizer from Young Living when I can't wash my hands.
-Carry a pair of latex gloves or paper tissues/napkins in case I am in a situation that I need them such as: to press kiosk buttons at ATMs, or to check out at the store and use the keypad, to turn doorknobs, press elevator buttons, flush toilets, to turn on and off water faucets, and to open doors in public bathrooms. I find I keep forgetting this one so I end up doing some weird sort of leg or elbow maneuver but that helps me remember next time I am out.
-Don’t shake hands or give High 5's. I hate this one. I mean who doesn't love a solid high 5?
-Sneeze into a tissue or into my elbow or arm sleeve and carry my own pen so I don't share a writing instrument.
-Refined organic coconut oil - I cook with this a lot but on days I don't I eat 1 TBSP to get the benefits of the antimicrobial and antiviral support that it provides. Saute veggies with it or add it to some bone broth of even coffee or hot tea. Unrefined coconut oil tastes like coconuts so stick with the refined version for more options if you don't want the taste.
My current immune support supplement protocol is:
-Carlson's Vitamin D3 (4,000 IU 1-2x/day). This is part of my foundational support supplement routine.
-Carlson's Cod Liver oil at 1-2 tsp per day at minimum is where I get my vitamin A support from. This is super important to warding off viruses because it serves as an anti-infective agent. Vitamin A provides critical support to the cell membrane/wall in each of our cells, the stronger the cell wall is, the less likely the virus will be able to penetrate it and then multiply and eventually take over you as the host. This is part of my foundational support supplement routine.
-1 vial of Oscillococcinum once per week as a preventative, pandemic or not. I never leave home without this stuff, it's amazing. This is part of my foundational support supplement routine.
-Digestive enzymes and/or raw apple cider vinegar at meals. This helps to digest my food and increase the absorption of the nutrients I get from my foods. But relative to antiviral activity, this increases the level of HCL (hydrochloric acid) in my gut which KILLS viruses that come into my system. Ideal levels of HCL kill off the bacteria, viruses, and yeasts that infiltrate our systems and is so important to good health. This is part of my foundational support supplement routine.
-Probiotics. My gut will likely always need probiotic supplements because of the enormity of antibiotics I took before going through treatment for chronic Lyme disease but especially because of it. I took antbx every single day for almost 3 years because I had no other option that was working to get me well. I hated every pill I had to take but am grateful that I am well today because I had this option before me. Nonetheless, I rotate my probiotic use with many different kinds and switch brands after I finish a bottle. This is super important to keep your gut bacteria supported with many different types of species of bacteria. I just finished taking Bio-kult and started taking Megaspore and will then begin Primal Defense by Garden of Life. This is part of my foundational support supplement routine.
-B12 (currently Folate 5-Plus by Biotics Research) - I have the MTHFR gene mutation which means that I don't detoxify as optimally as I should. Taking B12 in the form of methylcobalamin supports my cells ability to detox. I fully encourage you to get tested for the MTHFR mutation if you have not been already. This was one of the biggest hurdles in my healing from so many health issues and I cannot stress it enough. I take a few different B12 supplements because some of them work better for me than others but the one consistency is that it has to be in the form of methylcobalamin vs. cyanocobalamin or any other form as these other forms are synthetic and do not have the same effect. This is part of my foundational support supplement routine.
-Magnesium glycinate by Pure Encapsulations. I am at the end of a very, very, very long road of healing from a myriad of nervous system disorders and dysfunctions and this supplement helps me stay calm. It has transformed a breathing problem I developed nearly 15 years ago that was a result of stress, anxiety, and undiagnosed PTSD. The more stress you experience, the less magnesium you have to use for the over 300 different actions your body needs it for. The more stress I experience, the less functional my immune system is and that's just not something I am willing to mess with. It's my literal chill pill :) This is part of my foundational support supplement routine.
-Vitamin C in highly absorbable forms. I currently take 1-2 tsp of camu camu powder in a shot of cherry or orange juice daily. You can also get vitamin C through citrus fruits, kiwi, and guava. The supplemental vitamin C I take when I need even more of a boost is Pure Synergy's Pure Radiance C or Garden of Life's Vitamin Code Raw Vitamin C. Vitamin C needs to be dosed according to bowel tolerance which means that if you take too much your stool will be too soft so start slow and ramp up if you haven't been taking any before now. Typically 1,000 milligrams per dose is a good starting point for me for an immune boosting purpose at a minimum of 3 times a day with or without food.
-Zinc support by Pure Encapsulations at 60mg/day with food. Great for boosting immunity especially since I don't like consuming oysters which is the highest food-based form of zinc.
Let's do our best to live healthier, survive this pandemic and help each other along the way friends. Want to consult with me about your own health situation? Contact me to schedule a session!