I’m going to take a hunch that Coronavirus has majorly impacted your athletic life as well as the other parts of your life. I have friends who signed up for big running races like Western States who are no longer able to compete since the race is cancelled. Or you were training for the Olympics, high school track, really loving your pilates community or the gym you were going to regularly.
It is okay to feel anything that you are feeling. I will repeat, it is okay to feel anything that you are feeling. You can feel sad, angry, guilty, scared, anxious – anything. It helps to give space to these feelings and acknowledge their presence. And know that you are not alone.
First: Taking Time for Reflection
You might be finding yourself with more time than you know what to do with. Seize this moment to inventory on our own behavior patterns – how am I living, what in my life is not in balance, where can I live more alignment with my values, where am I in denial about the things I’m doing?
How can we come out of this feeling more empowered and stronger rather than more hopeless or helpless?
Reviewing the Literature: Integrative Prevention Considerations
There are lots of things that we know can reduce our risk of catching Coronavirus. The foundations to a healthy immune system apply here too. I combed through the most recent literature about preventing coronavirus and these are the things to prioritize.
- Get.Adequate.Sleep. Sleep deprivation increases different inflammatory markers in the body. Adequate sleep also ensures adequate amounts of melatonin (see below!). Aim for 7 to 9 hours.
- Reducing stress. This seems kind of impossible right now but I challenge you to pursue this with the same dedication you have to your sport. What worked for you in the past might not be what you have access to right now so it is time to be creative and maybe try something new. I’ve been looking into experimenting with making kimchi and making it my number one priority to make sure I meditate everyday. A bunch of different mindfulness activities such as meditation, breathing exercises, guided imagery, etc. reduce stress, reduce activated NFkB, may reduce CRP (a measure of inflammation).
- Melatonin – scientists have found that melatonin reduces certain cytokines that lead to inflammation. Since children have higher levels of melatonin, it might be why children are less likely to get coronavirus. The easiest way to get enough melatonin is by sleeping enough.
- Anti-inflammatory eats. Easiest way to do this is increase your fruit and vegetable eating. Now is not the time to subsist on Oatly ice cream (though very good) but focus on eating lots of colors. Extra credit for:
- Onions and apples (high in quercetin)
- Nuts, berries, tomatoes and oranges (high in myricetin)
- Turmeric (curries or golden milk)
- Green tea, which is high in epigallochatechine gallate -EGCG, which has been found to have anti-viral activity especially in early stages of infection. Now might be the time to learn how to concoct at-home matcha lattes with honey.
- Elderberry. This one is tricky and would heed thoughtfulness on your part. There is emerging evidence that indicates that Sambucus nigra (elderberry) at doses of 10 mL to 60 mL daily for adults inhibits replication and viral attachment of Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63). This is not the same as COVID-19 but is still in the same family. It increases inflammatory cytokines (markers) in the body so it is important to stop taking it if you start having symptoms or test positive.
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid). Again, we have no direct data on the effects of Vitamin C on preventing COVID-19. But we do know that ascorbic acid inhibits some inflammatory action in the body and can lessen the duration, frequency, and severity of colds. Dosing recommendations range from 500 to 3000 mg daily.
Let’s dig deep together and remember to love ourselves just as much as we love others. I’d love to hear how you are doing, how you’re coping, etc. Please drop a comment below!
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