It’s not easy being human. We are under a constant barrage of stress! Lately, there is an intense overwhelm that is universal. Along with the unnerving pandemic present, the relentless bombardments of panic-provoking news updates about it seems to be further exacerbating its toll. This is true for our nation and world on all levels, physically, socially, financially, and emotionally. (source, source, source, source, source)
If we take a moment of respite from the coronavirus (COVID-19), it doesn’t seem to last long. Furthermore, it is often filled with other headlines, newsfeeds, or social media updates of doom and gloom.
This relentless strain on our brains and bodies is not good for our health.
In this article, I am going to discuss some facts about the current pandemic, the unspoken emotional repercussions, and some proactive steps you can take to empower yourself through this.
First the Ever-Evolving Facts
As far as physically, one may find some solace in the fact that there are some basic steps most people can take to make themselves more physically resilient against and/or avoid viral and other critter invasions. These include using proper hygiene and handwashing, staying home as much as possible, and taking nourishing care of your body with helpful lifestyle measures. These include good rest, hydration, proper fuel, movement, and connecting positively with loved ones (virtually or with family). (source, source, source, source, source)
Overall, if the “threat” comes by you, it is being reported that most people’s immune system will be strong enough to fight back with very few complications. However, those who already have existing conditions are most at risk. Furthermore, it is being reported that people who have certain genetic variations or abnormal responses in the receptor that the coronavirus (COVID-19) gains access to entry into our lungs and target cells are most at risk. This is the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) 2. (source, source, source) For those who like scientific lingo, the main damage occurring in the latter category of the population may be an inflammatory immune reaction to the virus that can go systemic based on the receptor-ligand reaction.
Although many agree that most will fare okay, the exact mortality rate is, on the other hand, a hotly debated and evolving topic. Estimations are ranging below 1 to up to 6.8% depending on the country. (In the U.S. the rate is about 0.6-3.4% and Italy has the highest rate.) Some experts believe that the number of people affected may be larger, and mortality rate may therefore be lower, due to the fact that many may not exhibit noticeable symptoms through incubation. Some are taking heed that it will saturate our hospitals if we don’t contain it sooner than later.
Regardless, those who are older and with underlying conditions need to take extra precautions. (source, source) With the current measures of containment, and the nature of the illness, there is some solace in knowing we are now doing what we can to prevent numbers from reaching large amounts and overall most will be fine. (source, source, source)
Not to say this is all-sunshine.
We need to take care of those at risk and be mindful. It is good that we continue to take the measures to keep diligent, take it seriously, stay at home, yet not go crazy.
The Unspoken Consequences of Containing an “Invader”
Beyond the physical aspect of the pandemic, the disruption on our lives due to containment and fear for our loved ones and our own health is taking its toll. The social, economic and emotional strain is becoming severe. Everything is closing around us, literally.
This combination of isolation with fear is risky. With the halt in social gatherings due to the containments and quarantines, the impact from this lack of human connection and people’s panic is another matter that may be a little tougher to address.
We must resist the urge to view others as petri dishes of infested microbes, rather than loved ones and fellow humans. Little children are being traumatized. I have witnessed several crying over being told to hand over their hand sanitizers to their parents and people giving dirty looks to those purchasing tissues.
This impact may have long-term repercussions of health anxiety. It also contributes to the continued schism of the mind-body that leaves people to believe they are victims of their body, rather than hosts to it and something they must revere.
In the Psychology Today article, The Coronavirus is Worse Than You Think, author Samuel Paul Veissière writes:
By this account, COVID-19 is turning out to be a remarkably intelligent evolutionary adversary. By exploiting vulnerabilities in human psychology selectively bred by its pathogen ancestors, it has already shut down many of our schools, crashed our stock market, increased social conflict and xenophobia, reshuffled our migration patterns, and is working to contain us in homogenous spaces where it can keep spreading. We should pause to remark that COVID-19 is extraordinarily successful epidemiologically, precisely because it is not extremely lethal. With its mortality rate of 90%, for example, Ebola is a rather stupid virus: It kills its host — and itself — too quickly to spread far enough to reshape other species’ life-ways to cater to its needs.
The bad news for you is that, if you live in a densely populated area, you are very likely to contract the coronavirus — if not this year, next year, or the year after as it undergoes its seasonal global migration pattern with its zoonotic cousins.
The good news is that you will almost certainly not die from it, and it may not even register that you are slightly more sluggish than usual for a week or two.
Note, this is for those who are not compromised, which is why we must stay diligent to not expose those who have predispositions.
Addressing the Panic
Thankfully, we have a tool that is at the tips of our noses to address the mental, physical and emotional anguish of overwhelm and anxiety. These are essential oils. By calming our minds and bodies with them, we will be better able to view the situation and act with more courage.
I started discussing the topic of using essential oils for stress and anxiety previously and will continue as promised in a future post. So far, I have covered the usage of lavender, clary sage, geranium, ylang ylang, jasmine, and neroli in part I and continued with more on lavender, along with patchouli, rose, and bergamot in part II.
As far as other supportive measures to cope with the latest pandemic, I had sent out five tips to my e-subscribers on how to stay sane and boost immunity during the season of viruses, colds, and other critters. I decided to publish it with some revisions on Saratoga.com relating to this current topic. You can click here to read “Five Basic Tips to Handle the Scare of a World-Wide Pandemic More Sanely.” It contains some self-care tips, including a tapping exercise (i.e. the Emotional Freedom Technique) for anxiety over the coronavirus. Click here to access it.
More Supportive Measures for Overall Mind-Body Wellness
That being said, the fact is, we are up against some formidable foes. Below, I’ve listed some more natural herbals and nutrients, that, along with essential oils, I feel are good for immune balancing and overall support during times of excessive stress. They do not treat, prevent, or cure coronavirus, but they can help our bodies remain strong when we are worn down by stress.
My disclaimer before the list:
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history exposures.
In other words, the list below are not cures of the recent pandemic and are not approved to treat or prevent it!
- Andrographis has some antiviral activity, and it may prevent and shorten duration of colds.
- Echinacea may assist with boosting the immune response and also has some evidence for shortening the duration of the cold virus.
- Elderberry may ward off influenza according to some studies and can help with alleviating cold and flu symptoms.
- Antimicrobial and antiviral spices such as garlic, thyme, and oregano have many immune strengthening and other overall health properties.
- Nutrients such as vitamin D, high dose vitamin C, probiotics, and zinc help with immune response and supporting respiratory health.
A Note on Quality
It is important to realize, that just as with essential oils, quality standards for herbs and nutrients exist. Getting verified, third-party tested, quality sources is imperative to ensure that you have the active compounds present tested in trials and that there are no quality-control issues. Dosage and sources can be determined by your health care provider. (Visit my online dispensary here for supplements if you need good sources for wellness support.)
It is wise to be informed and take necessary steps to stay safe during these trying times.
That being said, please don’t scare yourself to death every few minutes. Stay relatively current and updated. However, balance information gathering with information overload. Know when to turn off the T.V. and internet.
Keep reaching out to your friends.
If you are quarantined, and during the times of shut-downs, use the phone and video chat. Mediate and try to stay centered so your body can heal.
Tap, take care of yourself, be present, be kind. Take care of little ones and don’t let fear take over your mind as the virus clears your body.
I also strongly advise you to watch your thoughts and not escape into lemming mode. Be aware, be vigilant, but keep your character and wits. Our perspective and views are strong in determining health outcomes. We must do what we can to protect ourselves by staying smart and optimizing wellness.
Wishing you all the ability to stay resilient, safe, healthy, and sane as you navigate through this trying time.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
For additional safety and medical information, visit my essential oils database. It includes a full category on how to use essential oils safely and potential drug interactions that can occur.
Please be extra cautious and be sure to check with your doctor if you have a seizure disorder. The Epilepsy Society of the UK lists certain essential oils implicated for their antiseizure effect as well as those that have stimulating properties.
If you and/or your physician are interested in consulting with me to assist with supporting the integration of essential oils safely into a therapeutic protocol, essential oils consultations are available.