Hopefully we area all taking some time to consider things from different perspectives right now. Allowed, Not Allowed … Essential, Non-Essential … even something as basic as the colors of Black and White. Remembering there is always a grey area, isn’t there? How about considering perspectives when it comes to your personal health – physically, emotionally and mentally – in regards to the public health recommendations set in motion in your state and the nation.
As an RN I recognize the “mode of transmission” of viruses and the need for hand washing, disinfecting, and limiting contact. However there are always extremes and perspectives in regards to the recommendations distributed to all of us and how those recommendations are carried out.
Just the other day I watched and encountered some interesting situations in relation to our current 6-feet social distancing and the latest recommendation that we all wear facemasks when in public. While at the grocery store, and even in a hallway and stairwell at my office, the tactics being used to avoid close contact seemed to be a bit extreme. The obvious wide-eyed looks when approaching someone in an isle, to the wide girth so obvious in the hallway, to not reciprocating a simple greeting and then bolting to slip through a door before it closes so as not to have to touch the door handle. All of these situations gave me the impression of paranoia and fear of any in-person encounter these days. Not to mention the deli worker with a home-made cloth mask in place and as I talked with her the mask shifted downward to no longer cover her nose and mouth as it is intended to do in the first place. What toll are these sometimes drastic measures actually doing for us when it comes to public health? And then our emotional and mental health?
As a bodyworker and RN, I am aware how increased stress levels can have negative effects on the immune system. Our immune system is doing it’s best to recognize threats (bacteria, viruses and other pathogens) and then basically neutralizes them in order to keep us healthy. So, whatever we can do to improve and support our immune system is vital at this time. However, I believe no matter how diligent we are, we will all have contact with this new virus and that can be a good thing. Exposure gives our body the ability to build antibodies and immunity in the long run. Of course, not everyone’s immune system is able to battle the virus due to pre-existing health conditions and those individuals need to take more precautions. However, let’s not go to the extremes please.
Can we all take a collective deep breath and acknowledge the fact (and need) to remain calm? Slow exhalations in particular encourage the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in, while decreasing the fight or flight response and calming our nervous system.
- Consider inhaling to the count of 5, pausing and holding your breath for the count of 2, and then exhaling to the count of 7 or even 10!
Let’s take a realistic look at what each of us needs to do in order to prevent spreading this virus, yet not over-reacting to public health recommendations. The most significant thing we can all do is wash our hands regularly with soap and water, especially after venturing out of our house and then re-entering our home.
Have you considered what social distancing, and the added daily protective gear when going in to public, is doing to our emotional and mental health? How we may be inadvertently causing strains in these areas for many people? The news reports are trying not to create fear, by choosing to feature things like “Facts / Not Fears”, however the mere act of listing the “total positive tests and death rates” throughout the day does not decrease fears for many … it only increases fears and anxiety at this time. These emotions and mental strains may be showing up physically in your feet – specifically in the toes, forefoot (ball of the foot) and in the arches of the feet.
Bodywork can be viewed as being just as essential to each of us – and just as valuable – as seeing another medical healthcare provider. Now I recognize “Alternative Healthcare Practitioners” like licensed massage therapists and reflexologists do not evaluate a person the way a physician or nurse practitioner does, however they are evaluating a person in a way that is just as important. When comparing more traditional or conventional healthcare providers with alternative or integrative healthcare practitioners I believe that some bodyworkers are looking at the body on a more holistic level as compared to many. They are considering more than the physical. There are individuals who receive regular sessions to positively effect many physical ailments, as well as psychological complaints, who are now being told to stay indoors and avoid physical contact closer than 6-feet. For many, the respectful physical touch received when on a bodyworkers table is invaluable.
- If you are finding yourself in need of bodywork, please consider contacting your practitioner to find out if they are offering sessions – knowing they will most likely have some additional questions in order to do a more thorough health screening on the phone before your session and perhaps altering or shortening the session time allowed for each appointment. If you have a face mask you can wear it to, and during, your appointment if you are concerned about exposure.
- When you contact your bodyworkers, they may also provide you with resources for some self-care you can do at home to help your individual situation!
Touch, at session time, obviously requires less than 6-feet of distance between two people. For many individuals receiving physical touch during a bodywork session is the only respectful touch they regularly receive which does not imply, or require, sexual intimacy. For some the implied risk of leaving their homes in order to receive what they see as “essential” bodywork can be too much right now and they may choose to suffer in silence. There are also some who have a different perspective. Those who schedule appointments during this social distancing time recognize the benefits of having a treatment to maintain their physical health, support their emotional well-being and bring mental clarity during these somewhat trying times.
If we are unable to meet for a reflexology session I wanted to give you information and options for self-care during this unique time in our world. Hopefully you already know, via some of my previous blog posts, how reflexology can effect not only your body, but your mind and spirit as well. But how about emotionally and mentally?
Emotional strains related to the changes in our daily lives can – and will – become evident as we navigate the days, weeks, and perhaps months of public health concerns related to Covid-19. The question is: How can we help ourselves better navigate the changes we are all adjusting to these days? Support is huge right now, not only support for your legs as feet, but for life in general. Feeling and knowing we are not alone, and we have all that we need, is truly important to each of us. One way we can support ourselves is by paying attention to our body’s foundation … our feet!
We can do some self-care for our emotions by focusing on the arches of our feet.
- If you have a foot roller, a felt dryer ball, or maybe even a tennis ball (though for some people this may be too firm) = you can roll your feet while sitting in a chair and give specific attention to the arch areas of your feet. While “working” this sometimes tender area, you will also have effects on your digestive system and your kidneys and adrenal glands! With the current increase in stress levels around the world, doing whatever you can to support your adrenal glands will be helpful to support your emotional health as well.
- One more helpful tool to support your emotional health can come from the natural world! Taking time to be in nature, away from the news and electronics, can renew your outlook on life. The higher vibration of the plant world can and does raise your body’s vibration.
- Another way to add the higher vibration of plants to your daily regime is to consider the benefits of adding flower essences for your emotional health and well-being. I will be posting more information about Bach®️ Flower Essences soon.
Mentally, if the world seems to appear to be spinning out of control, we can choose to do some self-care and allow our feet to assist us and ground us.
- By taking some time to massage and pay attention to each individual toe we can relax our neck, head (and all the brain structures involved in hormone regulation as well as our cognition) thereby reinforcing – and supporting – the pillar extending upward from the foundation of our feet to the mind and our mental health. By doing this we are reminding our body of the connection between body and mind.
- Once again, flower essences can assist our brain during these changing times.
After reading this post has your perspective changed? Perhaps your outlook on life and the current public health recommendations has shifted. Maybe your mindset on physically leaving your home in order to purchase groceries, considering a bodywork session, or even a walk in nature has shifted. Hopefully taking the time to read this entire post has offered you a different perspective and you will move forward along your path more confident and more at ease in life. Stay healthy and be well!