If you are beginning to get the feeling that you can’t open up your email program, turn on the TV or browse FaceBook without seeing ,“COVID-19,” you’re right.  And justifiably so.  This crisis is a once-in-a-hundred year event.  And as much as we think we can deal with it, that we are stronger than that puny virus is,  the threat of death from an invisible invader is never far from the top of our minds.  Like the constant and incessant fear of death that the Londoners must have felt during the Blitz in World War II, the idea that our world is spiraling out of control can’t help but cause anxiety.  Anxiety creates stress.  And stress plays a significant role in our physical health by lowering our ability to fight disease.

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about. 

If you think anyone is immune to those feelings, you’re wrong.  Remember my spinnaker theory of life.  Everyone’s spinnaker looks full except yours.  Ain’t so.  My spinnaker, just like everyone else’s, is always on the verge of collapsing.  Always needs tweaking to keep it flying.  What I do comes down to a few tweaks that I will discuss below.  Most of the time they work.  They are always worth trying.

When you begin to spiral down into the rabbit hole, remember something many neuroscientists are saying: those feelings last for only 90 seconds.  After those 90 seconds have passed, any remaining emotional response stems from us choosing to stay in that emotional cycle.

One of the best ways to handle what is out of our control is to move on to what we can control.  What we can do for ourselves.  By ourselves.

This is good advice right here:

Taken by JoAnn's friend, Kat Livingood, an amazing professional photographer from Santa Fe, NM

First…I’ve put myself on a news fast.  It’s like cutting out ice cream.  Only harder.  And I believe it’s better for you.  It’s easy to turn on the TV in the late afternoon and listen to the talking heads tell each other how the world is going to the dogs.  You sit there and think; “Wow, the world is going to the dogs.  I saw it on TV.”  But remember, viewership, the number of people watching, determines how much advertising dollars they get.  It’s  how they make their money.  If they all held hands and sang Kumbayah you would fall asleep and the advertising dollars would dry up.  So pick out one or two trusted news sources, not commentaries, and rely on them.  Check in once or twice a day.  And that’s it.  Let the talking heads manufacture anxiety.  I trust you to be smart enough to draw your own conclusions.

Then…do something for yourself.  I like the idea of getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine.  What some people are calling ecotherapy.  But use common sense.  Right now it’s best to avoid crowds and stay about six feet away from the nearest human.  Getting outside, walking, hiking or strolling, is a great stress reliever.  If you have a critter that likes to walk with you that’s even better. 

This is a good time to read something you always wanted to read but never had time for.  (Reading the iPhone definitely does not count.) 

Meditation is a tried and true method for relieving stress and centering your thoughts. There are a lot of good health reasons to do it too.  And it’s possible to do it without a turban and without having to learn an obscure mantra.  Not long ago, pre COVID, I wrote a short but helpful blog about meditation, what it is, what it does and how to do it easily.  You can also download a (free) app called Breethe that is available on your phone. 

That's me, meditating with my Spirit Horse, Macarena.

Yoga is an exceedingly helpful practice.  Not only does it help your emotions, it will also help in relieving aches and pains.  Right now, of course, going to a Yoga class is pretty much out of the question but there are some excellent Yoga programs that are available on your desktop or laptop. 

And remember Foxx’s Fearless Tips:  Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you have to be out and about and don’t go out in public if you have any signs of a cold.  I also recommend daily Vitamin D3 (5,000 units), Vitamin C (1,000 mg), Zinc (50 mg) and an echinacea capsule.  Keep yourself hydrated and well-rested.

We are seeing patients on a very limited basis and taking extraordinary precautions to keep everyone healthy.  Call JoAnn for information at 760-972-6116.

I am also doing a limited number of telephone/videoconferencing consultations.  The modern buzz word is “telemedicine” but you and I know it’s something I’ve been doing for 20 years or more.

Gotta go…

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