‘PRESCRIPTION’ FOR AMERICA: TAKE DAILY TO INCREASE RESILIENCE and DECREASE STRESS
Carole Lieberman, M.D., M.P.H.-America’s Psychiatrist
Sometimes it feels as if the threat of Coronavirus and the chaos in the world will never end. The stress can be overwhelming. But, you can remember to take positive steps each day to increase your resilience to Covid19 and decrease your stress, if you follow this anagram. Each letter of H-E-A-L M-Y-S-E-L-F stands for something you can do to build your immunity and take control of your own health.
H is for Healthy Nutritious food. We often reach for comfort food when times are tough. That’s because we’re unconsciously longing for the memories that foods like cookies, chocolate or pizza stir up. These were the treats our parents gave us as a reward, like when we got an A, or as comfort, like when we lost a game.
E is for Exercise. Ideally, this would be something you can do in the sunshine, like walking your dog or taking a hike. But, if you’re limited by mandated restrictions, you can still get exercise by dancing in your living room.
A is for Aromatherapy. Different aromas can make you feel different emotions. Lavender, for example, relaxes you. Vanilla can make you feel joyful. Jasmine can relieve depression. You can always uplift your mood by putting aromatherapy candles or flowers around your home.
L is for Laughter. At least one hour a day of laughter does wonders for your mind and body. You can get this by watching sitcoms or romantic comedies, or watching cartoons with your kids. Even googling jokes or youtube videos can give you life-saving belly laughs.
M is for Meditation or calming music. Clearing your mind of worries to quietly meditate brings you back to your inner self. Similarly, listening to calming music interrupts the noisiness of the world.
Y is for Your choice of vitamins and supplements. A daily vitamin that contains C and D, and supplements that contain zinc, are especially useful in building your immune system to help fight Coronavirus and other germs.
S is for Sleep. Many of us are having trouble falling asleep, getting enough sleep, or waking up because of nightmares. But, it’s important to try to get 8 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy.
E is for Engage with friends & family to support each other, even if by telephone or zoom. It is extremely important to share your worries with others who can offer you support, and to feel good about yourself by supporting them.
L is for Limit your daily intake of gloom and doom. This means not having radio or TV on 24/7 and not ‘doom-scrolling’ on the internet. Hearing Covid19 death statistics every hour will only make you feel helpless and depressed, which weakens your immune system.
F is for Follow your passion. Even in lockdown, there are opportunities to follow a passion you never had time to do before, when you were scurrying around from work to errands to driving kids to school. So, it can be a blessing in disguise to finally be able to write that novel, contact an old friend, or read the books stacked up in the corner.