Practicing self-care during a difficult time

Wow, the world certainly has turned upside down. Everyone is asking what’s the right thing to do, think and believe. Is closing borders the appropriate response, how dangerous is this virus really, and what’s the media’s responsibility when it comes to escalating fear in the world?

There are almost as many different opinions as there are people on the planet, so I’m not going to dive into all those things. Whether experts are right or not (at this point in time) that the “normal” flu will most likely be more deadly than COVID-19 remains to be seen. But what we can see clearly is a second pandemic of fear spreading much quicker than the virus itself. 

Getty Images
Getty Images

And that brings me to the point that researchers as well as the Global Wellness Institute support: There is a strong relationship between optimism and a lower risk of disease. This was confirmed in a major analysis of 15 studies involving 229,391 participants published in September in JAMA. The study also found that pessimism increases inflammation in the body and fosters metabolic abnormalities.

Another researcher, Julia K. Boehm, said: “Optimism promotes problem-solving. It helps people deal with challenges and obstacles in more effective ways. Optimists tend to pursue strategies that make a rosy future a reality. Their hearts are not constantly pounding.”

In contrast, she said, “Pessimists tend not to be open to the possibility of favorable outcomes, and the fight-or-flight response they experience amps up bodily systems that over a long period of time wear the body down.”

Just imagine how COVID-19, whether transmitted or not, is a trauma for many, not only from the general fear that is spreading, but for all those who are losing their jobs, businesses, going bankrupt or in the worst case even losing a loved one. 

So, what can we do?

For a start, from a wellness perspective there’s so much we can do to keep healthy and to boost our immune system. What I personally do on a daily basis are all the steps that we hear about on social media such as rest, exercise, nature and meditation time, but also I go a bit longer with intermittent fasting, lots of turmeric-ginger-lemon and vitamin C, organic food with lots of greens.

Doing everything I can to get good sleep – interestingly enough this week, my REM sleep is down, which means that I have to compensate that with a bit of daily extra meditation to make sure that my brain gets the rest it needs. 

We can all become examples of positive outlooks, knowing that we can solve this crisis together, that it will all be fine, and unless you are in the risk group of the population, it is unlikely that you will suffer from anything else but mild symptoms. Now is the time to practice mindfulness, yin yoga and meditation, and by celebrating anything that can be celebrated. 

All this does wonders for your own immune system, but it also spreads to others in a very positive way and may result in more people being healthier with a more positive outlook on life. Let’s spread the thought of love and kindness and goodwill towards all people, and make this a time to come together and support our fellow human beings.

For us in the travel industry, who are all suffering greatly, all we can do is to try and stay healthy, in order for us to take on the challenges ahead in the most constructive and effective way possible. No one knows where this will end, but it will end a lot better for you and the world with self-care and a positive outlook!