The seasons changing, a relentless global pandemic, political unrest, and the oppression of Black and Brown people— is a guaranteed recipe for stress, specifically chronic stress. Chronic stress is stress that lasts for an extended period of time, typically spanning weeks or months. With so much taking place around us, our bodies are absorbing everything. Unfortunately, more stress means weaker immune system functioning and weaker functioning means being more susceptible to health issues or sickness.
Possible stressors at this time:
• Going into winter means limited sunlight each day and temperature drops. It is a more dull and gloomy time, which directly impacts how we feel. Many people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and related symptoms, which plunge us into low energy as we leave summer and enter fall/winter.
• Coronavirus has been collectively destructive for most of the world. The pandemic has compromised the health and livelihood of many. People have experienced sickness; passing of loved ones, loss of jobs, and social isolation. Grief, trauma, and situations out of our control can induce increased feelings of stress.
• Politically, many countries are at odds with their government due to corruption and bigotry mainly. Unjust decision-making and messaging from elected officials have decreased the quality of living for masses of people. It’s unsettling.
• Black and Brown people specifically are bombarded with information about their own people being murdered, stolen from, and oppressed daily. This isn’t limited to the states. We are challenged to find our own space to process and find peace day to day.
In a nutshell—it’s a lot! It’s very heavy. But we can’t hold onto all of it, our bodies literally cannot afford to.
While precautions like social distancing and mask wearing have been issued to keep the public safe and protected, this has in-turn minimized the body’s opportunity to fight off germs and build strength on it’s own. Thankfully, being around other’s germs is not the only way to boost our immune system. We can do it right from home, which most of us are anyways. Through my own personal research and practices I’ve been consistent with habits I believe have been helping me naturally keep my body strong and healthy as it can be— given the circumstances.
Health is wealth friends! What we consume on a daily basis is honestly one of the most important practices in building our immunity naturally. Assessing what we put in our body is imperative. Our diets have to include more fruits and vegetables (leafy greens especially), plants, probiotics, healthy fats, and adequate hydration (meaning water, put the juice down). Now, I understand higher stress levels call for release, elevation, and comfort. So for all of my cannasuers and self-proclaimed bartenders—find a balance and make the healthiest choices you can (ex. exploring glassware, edibles, wine, or champagne instead).
Having multiple outlets to decompress is essential. We have to find ways to release the invisible burdensome weight we carry around with us. This could be writing, being in nature, cooking, creating, etc. The main commonality I’ve found in de-stressing is being mindful, focusing on enjoying the present moment. It requires effort. But honestly, we are too blessed to be stressed. Less stress = less labor for the body.
I can’t tell you what or how to do it, but we have to be active! Do what you can. You know your body. Maybe being active looks like taking walk, doing yoga, bike riding, jogging, having sex (safe + healthy ofc), or all of the above. Whatever it is, make it consistent. Regular exercise helps boost our body’s circulation, regenerate cells, and reduce inflammation. Couple being active with resting well. Having an adequate amount of sleep gives our body the time it needs for restoration, which is naturally related to immunity.
Being isolated significantly impacts our physical and mental health. Restriction in mobility means we have to be innovative when it comes to staying connected to others. Physical distance doesn’t have to mean emotional distance. Connect with your friends and family who may not be accessible to you. With today’s technology, we have plenty of options: phone calls, FaceTime sessions, zoom meetings. If you’re up to a socially distanced meet up, get out there and enjoy yourself. Keep a balance though—don’t burn yourself out with overstimulation.
Ultimately, stress weakens our immune system and there a million things in this world to stress us if we allow them. Some things we can’t help but to feel stress about but our response to those times is most important. We have to play our part in helping our immune system do its best. Take the best care of yourself. Again, taking the steps to healthier consumption, managing stress levels, being active, and staying connected are crucial in keeping our immune systems high. When we take care of our body and mind, they take care of us.