Lately, I make daily calls to check on clients and friends following the recommendations to self-isolate. Many are anxious from the constant news of a frightening world pandemic. Others are bored or angry missing outside activities and the freedom to move about. The emotional drain of the current times can produce an inability to relax physically or mentally.
Anxiety caused by living in isolation or indoors for a long period of time can develop into a feeling of being dissatisfied, especially with people in authority or a system of control. Realize, government and health officials did not cause this situation. The recommendations of staying in your home should not stress us out more, it is to protect us and those who are the most vulnerable and to slow down the amount of people who get sick. With a steady stream of just a few patients, the medical system does not become overwhelmed like we are seeing in many places now.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. As a Traditional Chinese Medicine physician, I appreciate how stress affects the free flow of energy, Qi within the body. Excessive and prolonged stress may impede the delicate balance in our body and trigger severe health problems. Fortunately, there are activities that we can use to help ourselves. The first step is to realize some of the activities to manage a difficult situation are not in our best interest. The first is not eating properly. Snacking all day out of frustration or boredom and eating too many simple carbohydrates will obstruct the flow of Qi, which would affect the Spleen’s functions. This means, the ability to utilize digested food will be affected. Digestive problems, weight gain and other issues may develop. Some of us, may not be used to preparing all our meals from scratch at home. With busy modern schedules, we had been dining out and looking for convenient options. Our new reality means we must reconnect with preparing our own food. Choosing the most natural ingredients available, no more impulse shopping, but being careful what we buy to manage our long-term budgets for our long-term health. Brown rice, beans, fresh or frozen vegetables, healthy protein sources should stocked be in all homes now. Luckily for us, “how to” is just phone call away or an internet recipe search. In our new reality, we all should be including some eatable plants at home. A kitchen garden, a pot of herbs on the windowsill? What a great time to get back to basics. Relearning these skills can help the budget, boredom and stress.
Some people cope with stress by drinking alcohol. The problem with this is, alcohol takes a psychological and physiological toll on the body and may compound the effects of stress. The allure is that, it seems to provide some short-term relief, positive feelings and relaxation. However, as stressful events continue long-term, heavy alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorders. Oriental Medicine teaches that when stress builds up, Liver energy flow is impeded causing shoulder muscles to tighten leading to shoulder or neck pain and even headaches. Shoulder tension can be from mechanical strain, improper posture while working or sleeping, lack of exercise and emotional stress. You might be restricted to home but take time to walk, jog, and bicycle or if you can, go to the beach. These activities are permissible in many areas under the ‘stay at home’ order if you do not gather in groups. Respect others through distance. No beach? Open the windows, exercise to music or one of the many now free, online classes. Be sure to stretch then perhaps, a relaxing bath. I cannot stress enough that exercise helps to unblock the flow of your body’s energy and circulation, minimizing the effects of stress on our mind and body. Tai Chi, yoga, and other forms of exercise that focus on breathing, as well as daily meditation help to move Qi, calming the mind and promoting relaxation. Now would be the time to check out the many free online videos.
Do not let your frustration tempt you to go out in public unless it is necessary. If you must, be sure to be to keep safe distance. A mask can help keep you from touching your face or breathing on others. Forget the gloves unless, you are using them correctly. Handling multiple items, then your wallet, phone or other, is just causing cross contamination and making our situation worse. And please, dispose of any of these items in a responsible manor, least they end up in a parking lot, or waterways. Do not leave them for already overstressed workers to pick up. Better to carry a disposable or washable wipe and some portable disinfectants and use it often. And, you still must wash hands and anything that gets touched often! We are all in this together and must all take responsibility to support our communities.
Get the Point! Phyllis, who was a professional dancer explained how all athletes, artists, and skilled workers know that when you are working on your craft, with practice an experience you improve. However, it’s not always that you improve steadily. Many times, you take steps forward then suddenly you fall back! It might seem discouraging, but then you leap forward further than you could imagine before. Perhaps, humanity has taken a step back? We all feel it in some degree, there is need to clean house, reflect and gown. Do not give up or be discouraged. There is a rebirth approaching. We like to look at it as we will be taking, a giant leap forward. q
CARLOS VIANA, Ph. D. is an Oriental Medical Doctor (O.M.D.) having studied in China; a US Board Cert. Clinical Nutritionist (C.C.N.), an Addiction Professional (C.Ad.), Chairperson of the Latin American Committee of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), a Rejuvenating Cell Therapist specializing in Age Management, has a weekly radio program, writes and lectures extensively. For information: VIANA HEALING CENTER, Kibaima 7, St Cruz TEL: 585-1270 Web Site: www.vianaheal.com
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