Hello! Dr. Troy here! First of all—how are you doing? No, really. How are you?
It would be an understatement to say that we are accustomed to enjoying the freedom and safety that comes with being an American. There’s so much uncertainty surrounding the daily developments of COVID-19, but this new environment also has a lot of us feeling like we’re losing our freedom. We’re afraid for our health and the health of those we love, but we’re also afraid of losing our lives as we know them.
The constant barrage of news and rising numbers can create a cycle of worry and anxiety that directly impacts our health—even down to our gut. Fear can drive us to turn within and cause us to shut down, perpetuating feelings of isolation and helplessness. It can also lead us to return to unhealthy habits as a result of disrupted routines or in an effort to find comfort. All of this impacts our gut health and has a DIRECT impact on digestive an autoimmune symptoms.
So, in the midst of social distancing, when our gyms and favorite restaurants are closed, when we’re being told to stay home and can’t see the people who bring us life, when our livelihoods and freedoms are temporarily altered, how can we manage our anxiety?
How can we separate ourselves from the fear that builds as we are confronted with the unknowns?
1) Practice gratitude
Fear and gratitude cannot coexist. Keep a notepad someplace you’ll see it throughout the day—on the kitchen counter, on your work-from-home workstation—IN THE BATHROOM! When you feel the weight of the unknowns we’re facing, jot down three specific things you’re thankful for. No, really! Try it! This simple exercise will take your focus off what’s missing and provide a momentary pause that is necessary for us to thrive in the midst of these circumstances. It will help you shake off the scarcity mindset that keeps us focused on what we don’t have right and instead bring light on what we do.
2) Connect with others
Do not lose touch with the ones you love! Reach out! FaceTime, email, texts, Zoom, Voxer voice memos and Marco Polo videos—these resources can blunt the feelings of isolation we’re all experiencing. My wife is participating in a Zoom Birthday party as I write this article! I’ve seen a ton of group workouts popping up via FB Live or Zoom as well! As you connect with others, do your best to limit conversations of COVID-19 and talk instead about the simple joys of your day—maybe even share your gratitude list!
3) Get outside
Spring is here and, for that, many of us are feeling grateful. Open your windows, sit on your stoop or front porch. Do laps in your yard or around your neighborhood if possible. Spread a beach towel in the grass and soak in some Vitamin D. Spending time in nature can be an immediate mood booster because it increases dopamine levels!
There’s so much we don’t have control over right now, but let’s not focus on that. Let’s be intentional about looking at what we CAN control. Nutrition, exercise, self-care, mindset. How are you taking back your freedom? I’d love to hear about it!
And, if you’re struggling to find or maintain gut health right now, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Schedule a free call here. I’d love to talk with you.
“The Unfortunate Expert”