Guest Blog written by out wonderful past retreater Dr. Dorine Karlin, ND, LAcNaturopathic Doctor, Licensed Acupuncturist, Clinic Director at Well Being Medical Center
How do we maintain balance during a pandemic?
Juggling protective guidelines and living in a peaceful state about the Covid 19 pandemic can be challenging. What are the ways to keep stress low, your immune system strong and stay healthy during and after quarantine? A helpful part of this process is to be well informed about what is real and what is fear-based regarding the unknown. First, let’s examine how we are vulnerable in regards to contracting infections.
There are two main thoughts concerning infections:
1. Germ theory:
Claims that if we get exposed to a germ we will contract that illness. The germ is anywhere and everywhere and any contact with it will cause fulminant symptoms and the disease process will ensue.
2. Terrain theory:
States that if our terrain is strong then we can come into contact with a germ without contracting that disease. Terrain constitutes our immune system but also our CNS, Adrenals (including stress response), GI, lungs, cardiovascular system, etc. Our ability to stay healthy is not limited to our immune system but encompasses all our systems and vulnerabilities.
There is a balance between the wisdom of taking precautions to keep yourself healthy during this Covid 19 pandemic and feeling overwhelmed by them. This feeling of safety within the chaos occurs when you can keep your systems strong through healthy lifestyle choices such as sleep, exercise, diet, meditation, and supportive supplements. Here is some more information on the main building block of health.
Get a minimum of 8 hours/night. The most helpful time to go to sleep is before 11pm.
Move your body every day and sweat! Sweating is a sign that you have moved your blood and lymph sufficiently to remove toxins and pathogens.
Avoid sugar and processed foods. Limit your caloric intake so that your body can utilize its energy to maintain your health. Foods to include in your diet: garlic, turmeric, ginger, dark greens, and brassica vegetables (brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower).
Meditation and other stress reducing practices:
Sit in silence, go out in nature, be still and let your thoughts pass without attaching or engaging with them. Click here to learn more about mindfulness.
Utilize immune supportive supplements like Vitamins A, C, E, Zinc, Selenium, Glutathione and herbs like: Echinacea, Goldenseal, Lomatium, and Hydrastis.
Threshold of exposure
Another component to consider. As a doctor, I am exposed to patients that have infections like bronchitis, pneumonia or other contagious diseases. Yet, they do not come in all at the same time but sporadically. My dose of exposure is minimal and instead is getting sick, I build immunity. This is also dependent on my terrain at the time. So, if I am vulnerable (for instance, I didn’t get enough sleep and feel run down), I may need extra support to stay healthy.
With COVID 19, there is a very strong contagious element and the spread is exponential so minimizing exposure as much as possible is important. Doctors and other health care professionals are getting bombarded and therefore more at risk of infection.
To bring a little peace of mind...
With a strong terrain, if there is minimal exposure this is not necessarily a bad thing. The hope is that unavoidable doses will start to build immunoglobulins and create a natural immunity. The media is conveying a lot of information that can be difficult to process and decipher. One of my patients mentioned to me that the air can be contaminated up to 3 hours after someone sneezes and that is why it is important to always wear a mask outside. This is a perfect example of a minimal exposure. If there are microscopic droplets in the air (not that you saw someone sneezing and then got close to them but if there is no evidence of the contamination occurring) this can be a way to build immunity. Small doses are almost like a vaccine – it stimulates your immune system in a way that is not overburdening it and creating an infection, but giving it the information it needs to start creating immunity.
A note on stress:
An unforgiving health and immune depressant. It floods the body with molecules of emotion that can suppress the factors that keep your terrain strong. It causes a rebound deficiency of energy and long term low-grade stress can be even more detrimental then quick bursts of stress. Click here for more information regarding stress, how to reduce its effect and effective treatments.
Don’t let the discomfort of the unknown cause you to be in a perpetual state of stress.
The reality is that we are always living in a state of the unknown. Nothing is predictable except that life is unpredictable. One of the essential keys to living a joyful, healthy and resilient life is the ability to accept the unknown as a given and be as flexible as possible in navigating the twists and turns that inevitably arise on the journey. No one is immune to the ups and downs life brings. Look at this time as training ground to get more comfortable with the discomfort.
Instead of asking when is it going to end and what does the future hold, live day by day, in the moment and plan your life around the things that matter: your health, your loved ones, the things that bring you joy, play in the outdoors as much as possible, and always remember: the beauty about any situation is that it will pass. There will always be something to celebrate and something to worry about. Finding joy in all that is with acceptance of the unknown is the way to peace in your heart and a more relaxed existence.
Be careful, be safe.
Practice social distancing when you need to step outside of being quarantined, wear a mask and gloves when grocery shopping and do all the recommended guidelines to stay healthy. AND, find stress relief however possible. Know that if there is a small amount of exposure in a healthy person, that it can bring about a stronger protection and immunity.
May you all find some peace and calm within the chaos and uncertainty.
Ask for help, build community, and we will get through this together. The most beautiful thing that can come from this tragic challenge is more compassion, more peace with the unknown, and more love for everyone.
Dr. Karlin has been practicing the art of healing for 18 years focusing on the treatment of the whole individual to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. Dr. Karlin designed Well Being as a nurturing environment where the physical as well as the emotional history lays the groundwork for treatment. Through this approach, Dr. Karlin treats the cause of disease/illness rather than just the symptoms. For individualized treatment plans, please contact her here: