My 8 Steps To “Self Care” During COVID-19
During this time where we are all surrounded by the effects of COVID-19, it is really important that we practice what I refer to as “Self Care”. We know that the majority of people that have been tragically affected by this brutal Virus are seniors and those with underlying health issues. As we age, our immune system is compromised and therefore it is more important than ever to do what we can to keep our immune system strong and in fact try to build it up. This is the main reason I am practicing Self Care as I want to do everything possible to avoid catching and /or infecting others with this terrible virus.
As my friend and health coach Shawn Tolleson (Tollesonhealth.com) reminded me yesterday, we are no good to our family, our friends, our co workers or our community if we don’t look after our own health. Thanks for reminding me of the Shawn as it is true motivation.
The 8 Ways I Practice Self Care
1.Focus On Sleep
One of my New Years Resolutions (Pre COVID) was to really focus on improving my sleep. Right now in particular I am doing everything I can in order to get a long and restful sleep in order to really help my immunity. One of the most effective techniques I have used is to simply get to bed earlier than normal. I am making a point of trying to get to bed an hour earlier than usual and I am finding this is really improving the quantity of sleep that I am getting. I believe the most effective method I have used to impact the quality of my sleep has been to shut down all “screens” for the evening. To learn about my most effective Sleep remedies that I shared in a previous blog – 5 Curfews For A Great Sleep, you can access it here: https://kevinbradyhealth.ca/my-5-curfews-for-a-great-sleep/
2.Dialing Up Diet
During this time I am really trying to pay attention to the foods I am consuming as I figure it is a great time to stay healthy as everything that is going in my mouth is my choice. The bottom line is that I am trying to make very healthy choices now more than ever. For me personally, this means that I am sticking to a Whole Foods, Plant Based diet that provides my body with tons of nutrients and energy. It of course includes my Morning Shake and I am ensuring that I am loading my shake with more than usual amounts of Turmeric, Spirilina, Chlorella, and tons of healthy organic vegetables. To refresh you on my Morning Shake recipe, you can access it here:https://kevinbradyhealth.ca/the-morning-shakenew-recipe/
3.Reducing/ Eliminating Alcohol
I am not sure about you but during the first few weeks of the COVID social isolation, I found that I was drinking more alcohol (organic wine) than usual. In fact this seems to be a trend as I have read statistics that show that alcohol consumption (beer, wine and spirits) have increased a whopping 170% when compared to the same period last year. Perhaps it was because I was out at our place in Whistler isolating or perhaps it was because I didn’t have to rush off to the office or appointments every morning so I somehow convinced myself it was ok. I therefore made the decision in late March to have an “Alcohol Free April” and am now continuing with “Alcohol free May.”
The main reason I decided to go alcohol free was that at this point I want to give my immune system everything I can in terms of ammunition and it is a proven fact that alcohol reduces our immunity. I also felt it was an “easy” time to go alcohol free as there are zero social engagements, parties, or gatherings right now so it is a good time to do it. In fact, I have made the decision to go zero alcohol again for the month of May and likely will continue this until things get back to somewhat “Normal”.
4.The “Right” Exercise
Self care for me also includes daily exercise as you likely know. It has been proven that moderate exercise builds our immune system by increasing our White Blood cell count which is what fights against foreign bacteria and Virus’s (such as COVID-19) that our system encounters. Therefore, now more than ever I believe it is important that we exercise daily in order to build up and strengthen our immunity. There is a point of “diminishing returns”whereby too much or too high intensity actually compromises our immune system. Therefore I am trying to stick to more moderate cardiovascular exercise during this time and also doing two strength workouts per week. Therefore this may mean an easy ride, a walk, a hike or an easy slow run for my cardio and weights on other days.
In addition, I personally believe that exercise is as important for us physically as it is mentally and I always feel great mentally and emotionally(mind and spirit) after exercising. I believe that now more than ever it is very important that we are able to maintain strong mental focus and balance and exercise plays a very important part of this equation.
5.The Cold Shower – Daily
One of the things that I do daily and get the most comments on from people is my daily practice of having a cold shower every morning. I definitely would admit that I don’t “love” this part of my day however I always feel better and recharged and full of energy after I do it each morning. Having a cold shower increases the production of our white blood cell count which strengthens our immunity. For example, leukocytes help fight infection in the body and the shock of cold water in the bloodstream stimulates leukocyte production. This means that taking cold showers can help our resistance to fighting off virus’s and bacteria that are foreign to our system. If you missed my blog on the Benefits of A Cold Shower, you can access it here:https://kevinbradyhealth.ca/a-cold-shower-every-day-will-change-your-life/
6.Shutting Down Technology In The Evening
I believe one of the most effective things I have done in order to practice self care has been to shut down and shut off all technology in the evening. Since most of my days are spent answering emails, phone calls and having virtual meetings, by the time evening rolls around I actually have had enough of my laptop and phone. Therefore at night I have been leaving my computer in the office and my phone in the hall to charge so that I have no temptation to open them or check them. I must say that during COVID I have found that I have been having amazing and deep sleeps and I believe that one of the main reasons for this has been my shutting down of all technology in the evening. I would encourage you to try this in the next few weeks and I promise it will result in a better and deeper sleep for you.
7.Extra Care to Vitamins and Supplements
Although I regularly take supplements on a daily basis, I have been very diligent in ramping up my supplement routine and in particular I have been increasing supplements that build the immune system. Some of the supplements I have been diligent about taking are Turmeric, Curcummin, Spirilina, Chlorella, natural garlic and ginger. Some of the vitamins I personally have been including to build my immunity are Vitamins C, D, B, Zinc and Magnesium to name a few. For those that read my blog regularly you would know that I also start most days with my warm filtered lemon water which I am ensuring I do every day right now.
There have been many studies that have shown the mental and emotional benefits of focused and intentional breathing exercises. Although I do practice various breathing exercises on a regular basis, I have been intentional about practicing my breathing exercises 2-4 times per day. I have noticed that this daily practice has resulted in me being much more relaxed and helped me have amazing sleeps. Breathing exercises have a positive affect on our Parasympathetic nervous system which in simple terms is our stress reduction system which helps us to build our immunity. To learn some of my easy, quick and my 3 best breathing techniques, you can access them here:https://kevinbradyhealth.ca/my-3-simple-techniques-for-stress-reduction/
There you have my best 7 strategies for my own personal Self Care.
1.Focus on Sleep
2.Dial Up Your Diet
5.Daily Cold Shower
6.Shut Off Technology in Evenings
7.Pay Attention To Vitamins and Supplements
8. Practice Daily Breathing
I wish you and your family all the best in health and happiness during these times,