During times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to understand how to take care of ourselves on every level: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. These aspects of primary food – all that nourishes you off your plate – become crucial elements of day to day life when navigating the unknown.
There’s so much we don’t know right now, and that’s enough to keep us living in fear. But we do know some things, such as how important it is to be feeding our bodies well; getting adequate sleep; practicing breathwork; and keeping our social connections (even if they’re virtual). All of these things keep us grounded in the present, give us opportunities to think on our greater purpose and learn from what it means to take a step back from normal life.
Knowing and practicing what will keep us feel safe, contained, and as anxiety-free as possible, is bio-individual. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to coping through times of extreme stress, so we’ve gathered free resources from some incredible experts in the IIN community, including Visiting Teachers, conference speakers, and more, to help you in whatever way you need right now.
How to support yourself physically
Eating nourishing, immune-supporting foods is important no matter what you may be going through. The obesity epidemic and lifestyle-related diseases are still contributing to hundreds of thousands of deaths every year.
David L. Katz, MD, MPH, board-certified specialist in preventive medicine and public health, speaks on The Upgrade podcast with Mark Bittman, New York Times bestselling author, about food science and the diets that can actually contribute to greater health. Dr. David Katz is also a guest on the Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg podcast, discussing why being healthy isn’t a fad, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frank Lipman, MD, integrative and functional medicine pioneer, founder of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City and Chief Medical Officer of The Well, has always approached food as medicine and considers the refrigerator your “edible medicine cabinet.” Check out his article on 30 ways to boost immunity right now, which includes way more than just food to support your health and immune system.
Moving in a way that’s right for you and your body is key, especially during times of stress. When your body is in a constant state of stress, your cortisol levels are going to be higher. High intensity exercise can certainly have a cathartic and endorphin-producing effect, but sometimes it can have a compounding effect on stress, keeping your cortisol high. Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine what movement feels right and how it makes you feel, which should be calmer and more focused.
Patricia Moreno, the trailblazing founder of spiritual fitness and a speaker at our most recent IIN Live, is hosting free virtual workouts in addition to free conversations to connect with people all over the world.
Sleep is crucial for your immune system to function properly. It’s when your body can properly assimilate and detox what you’ve consumed during the day and re-charge for the next. Lack of sleep impacts your hormones, your gut, your brain – there's literally no system in the body that goes unharmed. If you could call this a silver lining, being forced to slow down and stay inside can do wonders for your sleep and your health. Frank Lipman, MD, offers lots of content around sleep, as does Mark Hyman, MD.
How to support yourself emotionally
As humans, we crave physical contact and a sense of closeness. “Social distancing,” while very important to implement for the health and safety of the greater public, is already proving detrimental to our emotional health. It’s imperative that we find ways to satisfy these cravings for connection while also adhering to guidelines that keep us physically healthy.
The Well, the New York City-based wellness club founded by IIN grad Sarrah Hollock, wrote this powerful piece about normalizing our feelings of loneliness, nervousness, and fear, and how to maximize feelings of connectedness during this difficult time.
Lissa Rankin, MD, physician, speaker, and founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute, has been sharing her thoughts on her blog and on her Facebook about how she’s working through these difficult times.
How to support yourself mentally
Learning how to manage stress will be a challenge for us all right now, but it’s doable if we take each day as it comes.
Andrew Weil, MD, integrative medicine pioneer, focuses on a holistic body, mind, and spirit approach to health and wellbeing. Breathwork has been proven to relieve stress and anxiety, and Dr. Weil shares these three breathing exercises that you can return to every day, night, or whenever you need.
Deepak Chopra, MD, world leader in mind-body medicine, shares his take on what is happening around the globe and offers a glimpse into how we can find ways to be happy. He also has many video resources on his site such as tips for managing stress, the health benefits of meditation, and 7 days to peaceful sleep.
Speaking of meditation, this practice can greatly support your mental health during trying times, relieving stress and anxiety, and even helping manage depression and pain. Robyn Youkilis, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, speaker and gut health expert, shares meditations with her audience on Instagram, oftentimes with her young daughter, showing you that yes, it can be done with children!
How to support yourself spiritually
Spirituality can mean anything you want it to; it doesn’t have to be religious. Spirituality is the celebration of being connected to one another and everything around us. The practice of spirituality can be grounding and help provide a sense of meaning and belonging. It's exactly what we need right now.
Gabby Bernstein, international speaker and Spirit Junkie, offers her 7 spiritual tools to relieve anxiety, including guided meditations and anxiety-relieving tools you can use right now. Sahara Rose, host of Highest Self Podcast and teacher of Ayurveda and its practices, is using her Instagram platform to share free daily content to help you get out of your body and mind, even if just for minutes a day.
IIN is always here to support you
We’re dedicated to helping our community thrive, no matter the circumstance. Everyone’s priorities look different right now and that’s OK. You may be caring for an older relative or loved one; you have children at home to look after and keep busy; you have clients who need your guidance; you’re navigating unchartered territory to keep your small business running. Maybe you’re doing all of these things, while also trying to maintain calm and healthy yourself. It’s not easy, so don’t be too hard on yourself as you take each day as it comes.
Our content on the blog has always been free because we believe knowledge is power. Knowledge is also health, wisdom, strength, and support. Here are some further resources to look to, and know that we will continue to provide meaningful content to continue coming back to:
Taking care of your immunity & overall wellbeing:
If you’re at home with kids:
If you’re working from home exclusively: