Health and Wholeness: Focusing on All Aspects of Your Family’s Health During COVID-19
For well more than half a year now, the world has been living in the shadow of COVID-19 and if these last months have taught us anything, it is how precious and how fragile our health really is.
As the autumn looms, and with no end to the pandemic insight, it’s more important than ever to protect the wellbeing of those you love most. That means not only attending to physical health, but also to mental and spiritual wellness as well.
When you’re searching for wellbeing in all aspects of life, it’s important to start with the basics. Physical health is often the foundation on which strength and vitality in mind and spirit also depend.
In the face of a global pandemic, cultivating physical health begins by attending to the immune system. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to boost immune functioning just by changing your lifestyle. First, Getting consistent, quality sleep and sound nutrition packed with vitamins, minerals, and immune-boosting antioxidants, is key. Focus on foods rich in Vitamin C and D, as well as Zinc. Consider adding supplements to boost your nutrient intake, but not to replace a healthy diet.
It’s also a good idea to work on purging your body of all those nasty contaminants that might compromise its ability to fight off the virus. A good, gentle detox is a terrific way to keep your body in fighting form. And it doesn’t have to involve anything extreme. In fact, the last thing you want to do is stress your system when you need it to be at its strongest
Instead, your detox might simply involve getting rid of the unhealthy substances you might routinely consume, such as alcohol, processed foods, and high-sodium meals. Substitute these with lots of water, antioxidants, and exercise.
But it’s not just your family’s immune system that you need to focus on during this time. If your children are learning from home, for example, remember that that means they’re probably not going to receive the routine vision and hearing tests they’ll likely receive at school.
Pay particular attention for signs that your child might be having trouble. For example, if you find that your child often has headaches, rubs her eyes or squints, or seems to be especially clumsy, tripping or bumping into things, that could indicate a vision problem. Likewise, if your little one talks especially loudly, mispronounces words, or asks you to repeat yourself often, he could be having difficulty hearing.
The good news is that if you detect these signs, you will likely still be able to get help for your child without risking breaking the quarantine. Your child’s pediatrician will likely offer telemedicine options to allow you to discuss your concerns and create a plan that will keep your family safe while ensuring your child gets help, if they need it.
Let’s face it, the pandemic isn’t just taking its toll on our bodies — it’s also taking a toll on our minds. Social isolation combined with anxiety over the virus, over finances, and over the future in general, is contributing to a global mental health crisis.
Rates of depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are surging. But there are things you can do today to help yourself and your loved ones find peace again. Consider introducing meditation into your family’s daily routine, for example.
You might even stream a meditation class online or download a meditation app like Headspace to your family’s mobile devices. That way, you and yours will have the tools you need right in the palm of your hand to help you recenter and find your calm again when the stress of this new normal becomes overwhelming.
Peace of mind should also be accompanied by a calm and joyful spirit. In the face of so much uncertainty, though, that sense of security and happiness can feel unattainable at times. This is where it becomes particularly important to take the time to nurture your spirit and your soul, and to teach your children to do the same.
Right now, your kids are probably going to be dealing with a lot of difficult emotions. Teaching them not to be afraid or try to deny their feelings is essential in supporting their spiritual health. Work with your children at an age-appropriate level to help them understand their emotions and deal with them in a healthy and productive way.
For example, you might keep a “feelings chart” that allows your children to use stickers, from frownies to smilies and everything in between, to help them express their feelings when perhaps they don’t have the language yet to do so. This can open up an invaluable line of communication between you and your child as you navigate this challenging time together.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to filter into each day activities that feed your family’s spirit, as well as your own. Consider getting everyone in the family a gratitude journal and spending at least 30 minutes at the end of each day for everyone in the family to write in their journals. And when you’re through, if anyone wants to share their journal, all the better!
The last months have brought new pain to far too many. But the legacy of COVID-19 can be one of hope and healing. In the face of a global pandemic, we may well learn to take care of ourselves and those we love at last, body, mind, and spirit alike.