Some years ago, a friend of mine, who also happens to be a Medical Herbalist, was asked to present to some student GPs. She started her talk by asking them who was responsible for their patients health. Virtually all of them said that Doctors were responsible for their patients health. Over thirty years on, we find ourselves in the grip of a pandemic where the authorities have largely taken responsibility for our communal wellbeing. We’re being given rules to follow around wearing masks, washing hands, whether or not we can go to work, school or see our loved ones, all of which impact our health one way or another.
In my experience, this started long before lockdown. I’m lucky to have a PR lady working with me, and last year we were answering around 4 journalist enquiries a month. That’s how I ended up in a few magazines and national papers, but in January, it all stopped dead, and I haven’t had a single enquiry since. Whilst I’m not overly surprised, I can’t help but feel a little sad that reliable information about how we can take care of ourselves is being deliberately withheld. In the summer, new evidence was published proving that supplementing Vitamin D helps to protect us from serious complications of Covid19. The NHS updated its website accordingly, but only 2 weeks ago, our Health Secretary actively discouraged us from taking it on the grounds of ‘no evidence’. Likewise, Patrick Holford’s campaign to get intravenous Vitamin C used for Covid patients on ICU wards has been met with fierce resistance, despite it proving cheap, safe and effective in other parts of the world. At the same time, we’re also being told that our only hope of getting back to ‘normal’ is if we all have a vaccine which may, or may not ever materialise.
I choose not to explore conspiracy theories around this in an effort to keep myself as happy and optimistic as possible. However, I can’t help but wonder what’s actually going on here? Those who consider themselves responsible for our health don’t appear to have our best interests at heart. On the plus side, I’m seeing a huge shift in people’s thinking as they too begin to question what’s happening. July was my busiest and best month in 21 years of practice, I believe because more and more of us are finally stepping up and taking 100% responsibility for our own wellbeing. Let’s just say that I can think of a number of people who are sadly no longer with us largely because they chose to do the opposite, giving sole responsibility for their care to someone else. To me, even if a small percentage of us decide to step up and take better care of ourselves, in whichever way we like, it’s a cause for celebration.
What Do We Mean By ‘Self Care’ In A Global Pandemic?
There are two main aspects to what we need to do. I won’t say that we necessarily need to avoid catching Covid19 altogether. It’s not realistic to expect that, we need to build herd immunity, and if we’re going to catch it, it’s probably better now than in a few years time when the virus has mutated. However, for most of us, the bigger risk is to our mental and emotional health, and how that will impact upon the physical in years to come. We basically need to cover all bases, ensuring that our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is all taken care of at the same time.
Why We Need To Step Up The Self Care Right Now
We’re seven months in, and right now there’s no end in sight. The nation’s stress levels are sky high, and if you’ve read my other blogs on stress you’ll know why that worries me. Stress literally takes years of our life, and can be linked back to every devastating illness you can think of. Unless we do something to stop it right now, Covid itself is going to be the very least of our problems. Over the coming years there’s going to be a huge fall-out in the form of chronic and life threatening illness stemming from stressful situation we’re in at the moment. But now we realise that, we can do something about it before it’s too late. For some of us that’s going to mean taking drastic action, and others less so, but I bet you can think of one more thing you could do today to take better care of yourself.
Here are a few ideas to help you get going:
- Protect your mental health by taking a break from the news, and being very selective on social media. Your mind needs to be on a strict diet of calm positivity right now.
- As far as possible, only allow things and people into your life that make you feel better. Anyone or anything that makes you miserable needs to go, or have the absolute minimum amount of time spent on them.
- Learn how to nourish your body with nutritious foods, and perhaps some basic supplements. My new training modules (coming soon) will cover this for you.
- Take some time each day to nurture your inner calm, spirituality and personal development.
- Start learning your herbs – they’re going to become vital for our health again over the next few years as the antibiotic era has now come to an end. Even a basic grasp on how to use kitchen and garden herbs at home will come in really useful.
- Assemble your wellbeing dreamteam. Your Doctor may be part of that, but you might also like to include your dog (to help you go on more walks), your massage therapist, your greengrocer, your personal trainer, your favourite TED speaker/author, your meditation teacher, and obviously, your Medical Herbalist! 🙂
- Reconnect with friends and family the old fashioned way. I’ve been writing more letters & cards and loved getting back in touch with long lost loved ones. Of course I still miss seeing everyone face to face, but there’s nothing like a handwritten letter or card to brighten someone’s day.
- Get creative. Bake, garden, dance, draw, paint, decorate, felt, knit, and generally find yourself again.
- Spend time in nature every day. Even if you just have a quick walk and look at the changing colours of the leaves, the health benefits are massive.
- Give yourself lots of treats, like a nice warm footbath before bed, or watching your favourite film.
- Do something kind for someone else. Altruism was a key part of the war effort on both sides, and since then studies have shown that it has numerous benefits for all concerned.
I can’t emphasise enough how essential it is that we retreat and take care of ourselves right now. Over the coming weeks I’ll be posting new training in the ‘Learn With Me’ page on here, so you can work your way through the modules that interest you most. And if you realise that your health issues have gone too far to recover with self care alone, just click here to book your free call.
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References & Useful Links
‘Minted’, my free Facebook group has lots of reliable information, daily tips and friendly banter. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2450294751712953/