• Tamara S. Graham

#Quarantime for Self Care

Updated: May 6

We are all in a type of caterpillar "cocooning" process and although it seems very dark at the moment, I do believe we will emerge from this with beautiful wings in which to navigate a whole new world!

I am sure that I am not alone on this, but during this self isolation I have been researching and finding more ways to stay healthy and practice self care - which is really self love (a lifelong work in progress for me). It is a crucial time to help support my body, my immune system and my mental health. As we "shelter-in-place", it is an opportunity to go inward on so many levels.


This pandemic, COVID-19 virus, caught us during a time when America was not as prepared as we could/should been - having limited healthcare and unfair societal/economic disparities, but in many ways our modern lifestyles have prepared us. We have more social networking than ever, real-time world news, online banking, streaming entertainment, and thankfully a great home delivery system for essentials. The last decade of declining brick-and-mortar businesses have allowed more people to work and shop from home. Internet learning is now becoming our new school system, just when our kids safety was a real concern between bullying and mass shootings.


During this tragic time of loss, while we all stay home to protect our fellow humans, we are being shown just how many areas of life we need to rethink. It's like a magnifying glass being used along with an intense spotlight to shine onto things that aren't working and even burning some away. Pollution, and other earthly abuses are almost completely ceasing. The sky and water are clearer than they have been in most of our lifetimes. Animals are enjoying more natural freedom. Most people are behaving compassionately and caring for others as best they can, even without the benefit of a loving touch.


I am fortunate to still be able to do most of my work from home, and I have deep compassion for those that cannot. I am one of the bazillion Americans that live paycheck to paycheck and I am acutely aware that my situation can change at any moment. I am grateful for so many things at this exact time in my life, but the hardest part has been not being able to hug my gown kiddoes since they live so far way. Before this pandemic, we had been talking about finally having all of us together at Mother's Day this year. That is on pause right now, and if it keeps us all safe, it will be well worth it.


Creativity is more valued than ever, and extroverts are now seeing life as introverts! People are spending much needed time with their kids, and finding it harder than they imagined! Homes are becoming sanctuaries again, and people are cleaning and organizing! More people are cooking and eating together! We are tending to our gardens, outdoor spaces, and indoor plants if we are lucky enough to have them! Pets are getting more attention and couples are reassessing their relationship needs. Board games and puzzles are getting a new found appreciation and home workout routines are on the rise.


I am excited to see what new types of businesses and careers stem from this time of awakening. This cocooning process will force us to create new ways to thrive in this new unfolding world. It is a time of morphing into something better, appreciating the small things and beginning to see with new eyes and clearer vision in 20/20!


I am personally finding time to finish some projects I have been working on, like genealogy research, scanning old photos, and putting more life into my blogs again. I have more time and passion to focus on my lifelong goal of getting my children's book series published. Book 1 of 9 in the series is at the illustrator and I am hoping to have it self-published and out in the hands of kids by my birthday in August. Book 2 is in the editing stage, and I am updating the book series' website.


If I do get sick, I will do my best to help my body fight off this virus using it's own innate ability to attack and isolate the foreign matter. When my son was little, he used to say that his immune system was really little army guys going to battle for him to keep him healthy. Wise words from an old-soul in a young body! I have compiled a list of immune boosting ideas, and as much as we don't know about this Coronavirus, in general I believe these can help us. I want my grown children to know that I, age 57, am taking precautions to be as safe as I can.


Below are my researched ideas and intuitive beliefs for my best health right now. I have also been following my favorite sources of nutritional information from; Dr. Ben Lynch, a highly respected Epigenetic Pioneer, and Anthony Williams, also known as the Medical Medium, who was born with the unique ability to converse with Spirit of Compassion who provides him with extraordinarily accurate health information that's often far ahead of its time.


With that being said, please remember that I not a health care provider and cannot recommend whether or not these would be good for your specific needs. Always consult with your healthcare provider, and be your own advocate.



General Immune Support

Electrolytes and extra water to help my body flush out any unwanted germs and keep my immune cells plump and efficient at doing what they do best, protecting me! It's the least I can do for them. Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They are in your blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids. Electrolytes are important because they help balance the amount of water and pH level in your body. They move nutrients into your cells and wastes out of your cells.

They ensure that your nerves, muscles, heart, and brain work the way they should.

Vitamin D - which I have a tendency to be low on year round. I have to be sure to take some with a boost of Vitamin K to help absorption. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for improved resistance against certain diseases. And remember to get some good old fashioned sunlight if you can.

Vitamin A - must only be taken if your Vitamin D levels are sufficient otherwise it often creates headaches. (Use only occasionally with caution not to over consume.) It is essential for many processes in your body, including maintaining healthy vision, ensuring the normal function of your immune system and organs.

Vitamin B12 - for stress relief and since I am not eating as much meat during these less-often grocery shopping challenges. (This is something you don't want to over consume.) Vitamin B12 supports the normal function of your nerve cells and is needed for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis.

Vitamin C - I have read this is best used to boost immunity but once sick it's not the best time to take high doses. Take to bowel tolerance since our body will try to get rid of excess C with loose stools. While its well known for supporting the immune system, it is also necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues.

Zinc lozenges are great to use if you develop a sore throat. I believe they can be important after being around new people in public places. I have heard that this can help reduce germs in your mouth and throat before they have a chance to move further into your body. Zinc is vital for the immune system, but it should not be taken regularly in high doses. It can react with medications so consult your healthcare provider.

Echinacea is best taken for a short period of time, usually from a few days to a few weeks, depending on your illness. It is particularly beneficial in helping the body heal quickly from colds, flu, sore throat, sinus infections, sinusitis, hay fever, and bronchitis. It is also a blood purifier that has anti-inflammatory properties. I especially love "Sleepy Time Echinacea Tea" at bedtime!

Elderberry is one of the most effective remedies for viral and bacterial infections such as colds and flu and can substantially shorten the duration of your illness if you get sick. Elderberries are also known to have the ability to significantly enhance immune function by boosting the production of cytokines in the body. In addition, they are very beneficial for bronchial and respiratory problems and can help loosen and expel congestion in the lungs.

On-Guard essential oil roll-on (by doTerra - no I'm not a rep) has an orange cinnamon scent that I adore and is my every day go-to fragrance. It also has great immune boosting and respiratory supportive properties and helped me recover from a nasty lingering cough 2 years ago.

Warm liquids keep your mouth and throat in good health in general by reducing irritated areas where bacteria and germs can linger. (also see tea suggestions in this blog) Warm lemon juice can help digestion which would reduce acid reflux that may burn and damage your throat/esophagus and could create a place for unhealthy cells to harbor. Room temperature celery juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach has completely eliminated my chronic heartburn.

Probiotics - In general they help support your gut where most battles for immunity and inflammation occur. Remember to read the labels, some are best taken away from food and some with food.

Magnesium - its the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, and it is essential to good health. It’s involved in over 300 cellular processes. I like Natural Calm because it keeps my bowels regular, which helps eliminate any waste that my immune system is trying to expel. Side benefit is that it can reduce stress and gives me a calm feeling, which is helpful during these uncertain times. It also helps me fall asleep when I tend to stay up and worry, reducing my "mind-whirring".

Allergy meds - remember to continue your usual allergy medication, supplementation protocol.



Lung Support of Any and Every Kind

Thyme herbal tea contains potent anti-viral properties and if taken on a regular basis can significantly help to reduce the viral load in the body! Thyme helps fight respiratory infections and is a natural expectorant that serves as an antiseptic and helps expel mucus. It's also good for soothing coughs and fighting nasal congestion. Thyme makes an aromatic and soothing beverage; great after meals and during stressful times. Prepare it as a tea by putting a teaspoon of thyme in boiling water, let it stand for 10 minutes and then strain.

Breathe Easy tea is good support for your respiratory system. I use it often to help my airways during my allergy flareups. It has traditional herbs like fennel, licorice and eucalyptus and a blend of eleven Chinese herbs. It seems to be in high demand lately.

Chlorophyll ChlorOxygen® concentrate can increase the amount of oxygen available to cells. It supports the production of red blood cells and its blood-oxygen carrying capacity. It is helpful for individuals traveling to or living in high altitude locations. I have it on hand in case my lung function declines during any illness and since I live in higher elevation. Check with your doctor on that one.

Toothbrush - we should be changing out our toothbrushes every 3 months! Especially during and after any illness. Reduce the bacteria your lungs and immune system have to deal with right now.

Bedding is very important to keep clean and allergy free to help give your lungs a chance to work less labored while you sleep. Be sure you wash your sheets often in warm-hot water if you can to reduce any bacteria and allergens that tend to lurk in dark moist areas. This is a good time to assess your pillow - since whatever is in it (or on it) gets right into your lungs while you try to rest. Wash your pillow if you can, and if not consider investing in a hypo-allergenic pillow or at least a pillow cover.

Breathing exercises like many respiratory therapists are recommending during this pandemic. Take a deep breath, hold for 5 seconds then exhale. Do this for 5 repetitions, but on the last out breath force a cough. It helps keep your lungs clear even before you are sick. (caution: it can make you temporarily light headed) Fresh air, air cleaners, no smoking, reducing dust, and using indoor plants are also something I recommend. I even saw an ICU nurse suggest a housemate help clear your lungs when sick by gently but firmly pounding on one another's backs to loosen any built up fluid in the lungs, and they discourage lying in bed on your back for long periods during illness.



Foods - Organic Whenever Possible

Leafy greens and a variety of vegetables to get my vitamins as naturally as possible.

Reducing foods that cause inflammatory reactions (I have many). Which is very hard to do since I tend to use food to calm my emotions and reduce stress. Counterintuitive, I know, but a lifelong pattern I was working to conquer. Then this high stress time hit.

Reducing alcohol may be advised if you have any underlying health issues since it does require more work for your liver to process.

Cookbooks - dust them off and be creative! I also recommend any of the Medical Medium books, but especially "Life Changing Foods" to see which foods can help reduce or eliminate symptoms you may be experiencing in general.

Food reactions - this could be a great time to keep a food journal of what symptoms you experience after eating specific foods. Life changing for me!


Socially Distancing

Working from home - if you can. I have been fortunate to have that opportunity, and hope my hours don't get cut as we move forward. It does require discipline and creating a distinctive work space can help you stay focused. The challenging part for me is not to eat snacks all day, and to keep our cats off my computer keyboard! Remember to stay hydrated with something beside coffee!

Grocery shopping less often, and only sending one person from your household. I have been ordering many non-perishable items online so it feels like a holiday when I open the front door! Do your best to limit exposure by wearing a face covering and any gloves. Use non-contact payment methods and try not to handle cash.

Technology - nowadays we have multiple way to to cyber visit with family and friends. Just do it!


Mental Health

Positive attitude is a challenge but essential right now. I try to stay hopeful, but I am human and have some down days. Do whatever makes you happy!

Counseling options are readily available if you need professional support to deal with anxiety regarding COVID 19. Check with your healthcare system or insurance provider. Sessions can be done over video conferencing or by phone. Or contact your local behavioral health facility's website to see if there are free services available in your community.

Reduce tv news time and only watch a reliable source of information.

Sing or just listen to your favorite song and remember better times.

Write your feelings down. Journal to let them out safely - then keep them or burn them. You are not alone. Blogging is therapeutic! An old fashioned letter to a faraway friend or relative could be just what they need to cheer them up, especially elders who don't use social media.

Cuddle with your pet(s) if you have them. Could be an excellent time to adopt an orphaned pet.

Watch nature videos, or spend time in your own yard. Yes, I even hug the trees that aren't covered in ants!

Laugh at whatever you can. Silly movies, cat videos, comedian acts, or your own family movies.

Sleep may be hard but it is crucial to keep a good sleep schedule to support your immune system. If you are having restless nights, be sure to try to nap if you can. Sticking to a daily routine may help. (try magnesium or Sleepy Time tea)

Express love to your housemates in creative ways while you honor physical boundaries.

Tell yourself "I love you" and say "thank you body"!

Put your hand on your heart, using the sign language hand position for love. Repeat "Infinite Love & Gratitude" until you feel it.

Calming apps like "Calm" can provide structured, guided breaks to disconnect your thought process. Find the app that resonates with you and use it often. Try setting a timer to remind you.

Meditate or pray however you feel called to. Don't stress over the right or wrong way to do it. Often just simply a few minutes of silence can help us "reset". Here is one of my favorite meditations: Chakra Meditation for Infinite Love and Gratitude by Dr Darren Weissman


Movement

Get your body up and moving! Do anything that gets your circulation and lungs working. Set a timer if you have to so you remember to get up and move during long sitting periods. Dance to music, that will help your mood more than anything else! If you have stairs, do many trips up and down. If you have home exercise equipment get it out of the closet, lol. This is as much a note to myself as any. Love yourself by moving your body!


On that note, I need to go dance and run around the house now, so thanks for listening and feel free to read my other blogs for other heartfelt ponderings!


Here is preview of what my illustrator is working on for my children's book series "The Sunshine Books". It's getting very exciting around here! Stay tuned!




About Tamara S. Graham

Tami is grateful for all of her Highly Sensitive Person traits because they have made her who she is today: an optimistic, nurturing soul, full of great compassion. Being a mother has been her hardest and most rewarding job since her unique and sensitive children have been her greatest inspiration and teachers. She is currently writing a series of children’s books for HSP families. Follow this blog for more of her heartfelt ponderings about life and her love for children and animals.


{Copyright 2020 - Photos are the property of Tamara S. Graham unless noted otherwise. Snapchat filter purple hair!}

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