Here are some ideas to help you to reduce your stress, boost your immune system and keep yourself safe during the Coronavirus pandemic.
By Lynne Matallana
Stress can have a direct effect on our physical and mental wellbeing. Stress can turn on our bodies Â fight or flight response, which is defined as, Â âA physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that is terrifying or perceived to be terrifying, either mentally or physically.â1Â Â When the mind accepts something as being terrifying, the body releases certain hormones to activate the fight or flight response. Next the sympathetic nervous system takes over, causing physical changes in your body that prepare you for eitherÂ fightÂ orÂ flight.
When dealing with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia, our stress system can often be activated over long periods of time. Add to that situation, the addition of other stressors, like worrying about or dealing with the coronavirus, and the release of additional stress hormones can increase heart rate and make you breath too fast. Overall, your bodies reaction to stress can put more wear and tear on your body making you more prone to illness.
People with FM, often are told about the importance of taking time to focus on ourselves, meditate and calm our minds, think about things that make us happy, and to relax and practice slow mindful breathing. Â These things may sound unimportant when you are in excruciating pain or feeling panic over a global crisis, but science shows the value of reducing your fight or flight response in order to help your pain, fatigue and help support your immune system.
Here are some stress reducers:
- Get in a comfortable position and listen to music that brings back happy memories or makes you feel good.
- Find a coffee table book that you havenât looked at for a while and get engrossed in the pictures and the story the book tells.
- Reduce the amount of time that you spend listening to âbad newsâ. Yes, we all want to stay informed, but when you feel yourself becoming worried or angry about the information on the TV or internet, step away!
- Open your bedroom window in the morning and listen to the sounds of nature or if you hear cars and people, know that there are others, just outside, living their lives and you arenât alone.
- Picture things that are outside your home that make you happy, like the flowers that will soon be blooming or the sun shining down on the trees in your yard.
- Take time to take a long bath or shower. Let your mind focus on the water running over your body and think of it as a healing elixir.Â Donât let you mind go to anything that causes worry. Instead think of other bodies of water like a babbling brook, ocean waves, or the beauty of a waterfall. Force out of your mind negative thoughts.
- Take 10 to 20 minutes, two times a day to meditate. If you arenât comfortable with meditation, just sit in a quiet place and tell yourself a happy story or create a positive thought that you can say over and over to yourself.
- Take part in a hobby.Â Draw or paint a picture. Do some gardening. Â Play with your dog. Learn to knit. Start a journal or scrap book. Be creative and keep your mind feeling calm and inspired.
- Write a real letter to a friend. Not on the computer or your phone. Take a piece of paper and tell your friend all the good things you can think of. Let your friend know that you are thinking about them and that you care about them. (Doing for others is a great way to take your mind off of your worries.)
BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM:
Even though FM isnât an auto immune illness, many people with FM do have overlapping conditions, such as Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohnâs Disease, Celiac Disease, etc., that are auto immune diseases.Â We also know that people living with chronic illness often have stressors that affect the immune system. With a highly contagious virus, like Covid-19 spreading quickly across our globe, it is imperative that people with illnesses like fibromyalgia do everything they can to take steps to boost their immune system.
- Get enough sleep and take rest periods to relax your mind and body throughout the day. Most of our healing takes place at night when we are asleep. It is imperative that we make every effort to get as many hours of sleep as possible (7-10 hours a night is recommended).
- Stay hydrated by drinking water and hot liquids throughout the day. Drink hot water with lemon and honey in the morning and at night. The lemon has Vitamin C and the honey has antibacterial properties.
- Try to eat fresh vegetables and fruit daily.
- Spend time outdoors and enjoy nature. Studies show that spending time among trees and plants can boost your well-being.
- Do some type of movement or exercise ever day. Stretching, walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates- really any kind of movement is helpful.Keep up your personal hygiene, especially oral care. The mouth can be full of bacteria, so the cleaner the mouth, the less chance of diseased spreading from the mouth.
- Eat organic foods whenever possible and foods rick in probiotics.
- Laugh! And laugh a lot!
KEEP YOURSELF SAFE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC:
Iâm sure you have heard many of these suggestions recently, but it is always good to be reminded!
~ Wash your hands constantly!Â Use hand moisturizer because you donât want bacteria to get into the cracks of dry skin.
~ Use disinfectant on hard surfaces in your home and car.
~ If you sneeze or cough use a tissue and then throw it away and wash your hands or use your elbow. (Remember the virus can live on clothing, so washing clothes often is now important).
~Practice social distancing.Â If you have to go to a store or pharmacy, stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
~ STAY AT HOME!Â If we can reduce the spreading of the virus, lives will be saved and we can flatten the curve!
Anahana Wellness, https://www.anahana.com/.