Strengthening the Immune System During COVID-19
Researchers have found that stress can suppress your immune system response, and puts you at an increased risk for infections and diseases.
In addition to hand washing, sanitizing, wearing masks, sheltering-in-place, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and taking your supplements, it’s also important to manage your stress level.
How to Manage Stress During Shelter-In-Place
Avoid total isolation. Stay connected to your friends and family online and by phone to help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Feel your feelings without allowing them to overtake you. Allow yourself to feel disappointment, grief, sadness, shock, anxiety, fear, overwhelm, and confusion. Then, find an outlet to channel and process your feelings, such as through writing, exercise, yoga, drawing, deep breathing, and therapy.
Focus on your strengths and resilience. At the beginning or end of each day, reflect on the difficult times in your life where you have been able to draw on your strengths to help you persevere and move forward.
Practice compassion. During times of crisis, it can be more challenging than usual to show up as your best self. Everyone is struggling in their own way, so focus on having compassion for yourself and other people.
Maintain daily routines without adding pressure to be productive. Your routines will give you a sense of structure, grounding, and stability. Wake up and go to sleep at a consistent time. Schedule your meals, showers, exercise, and Netflix. Beyond that, don't expect yourself to be overly productive right now. Everything about your life has changed drastically and it's healthy to give yourself space to process and digest everything that is happening.
Limit your exposure to watching or reading about the news. Be informed about practical information, especially about your local news updates so you have a game plan for your next steps. Beyond that, constant exposure to the news will likely trigger more anxiety and trauma.
Focus on the present moment and taking things one day at a time. If zooming out to see the bigger picture is overwhelming, zoom in and focus on what's right in front of you. This can help to prevent overwhelm and existential angst.
Comic relief. Laughter is a helpful way to release stress, improve your mood, and boost your immune system. Spend at least 10 minutes per day watching, reading, or listening to something that makes you laugh.
Maintain your personal boundaries. While it's important to stay in touch with loved ones, boundaries are more essential during a time of crisis than ever before. Give yourself permission to say no or walk away from triggering situations. It's okay to set boundaries around how much you want to talk about the news and to say that you're not available to talk about something right now.
Focus on what you can and can't control. While we cannot control this situation, we can instead focus on what we can control, such as our own reactions and choices.
Practice meditation and breath work. Meditation, visualization, and breathwork can help you manage stress and anxiety by regulating your nervous system. These practices reduce stress hormones and boost your immunity.
Thanks for reading! I hope you find these suggestions to be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety. Take good care and feel free to send a message if you have any questions.