What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About Self-Care

One thing that has been abundantly demonstrated during the pandemic is that the body, mind, and spirit are not separate. They all generate a somatic response. This can lead to a negative feedback loop where the body is challenged and then the mind and spirit follow. Or the mind and spirit become depressed and the body can’t get energized. All three components work closely together to create optimal health.

When stress and grief accumulate, they can generate a physiological imbalance via the fight or flight response or deficient activity of the vagus nerve, which are just two examples. This typically leads to physical symptoms such as change in appetite, digestive disturbances, change in sleep patterns and energy levels, and a poor immune response. These physical symptoms are messages coming from our body that there is a deeper disturbance, an underlying cause of the symptoms. Correcting the underlying disturbance is essential in rebalancing the body’s ability to heal from the physical symptoms it is manifesting. Clearing our energy of both health and mental/ emotional issues brings greater peace of mind and a more appropriate immune response.

Many people approach health as either a desirable, but distant, goal or something that can be manifested quickly through an external mechanism, such as high dose Vitamin C or a vaccination. From a naturopathic context neither of these perspectives is accurate. Good health and immunity are created by intention that is followed with consistent and deliberate action. That action must take place on a daily basis to be effective. However, all factors must be taken into account. An individual’s overall health status must be evaluated and weighed when making sound health decisions. This is where critical thinking is essential.

As a naturopathic practitioner, my bias is towards taking the most natural approach possible in resolving a health issue. Following the natural laws of good health will usually bring the deepest and most lasting benefits. This is the approach that helped me eliminate my migraine headaches. That said, I am also a pragmatist and I believe in science. I appreciate much that conventional medicine can offer and I have an artificial hip to prove it. I find that health in our modern lives is best obtained by embracing both natural and conventional treatments.

I am not opposed to vaccination if that is the most responsible course of action for an individual. Naturopathic medicine has tools that can help mitigate an adverse reaction. And it can provide alternative immune support. It is a matter of personal choice and weighing the risk/ benefit ratio. As a doctor and health care provider, I took an oath to err on the side of that which provides the most benefit for your particular health status.

The long-term implications of the pandemic indicate that good health is a process of deliberate, carefully chosen self-care. Pandemic numbers have gotten us in touch with how fragile life is. Creating a better physical and mental/ emotional stress response is essential for good health and helps support resilience so we can be there for those around us.