A co-worker once criticized my perpetual Pollyanna positivity by saying “you find something good in everything!” I’ve also been told I do a great job combining the practical and metaphysical. And just this week, two separate folks told me I am “a calm voice in a world of hysteria.” I’ve decided all this makes me an expert on how to stay both safe and sane during this virus season and I was goaded into sharing my thoughts with you.

As my friend and colleague Rev. Sherri James said in her letter to her UP Church family, “Our deepest intention is for you to remain calm. You will hear us talk about prayer because we absolutely believe in prayer. And, you will hear us recommend that you follow the guidelines provided by the CDCand WHO.”

Note: you can read Rev. James’ full message here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/sherri-james/up-churchs-role-and-responsibility-navigating-through-covid-19/10158304222342940/

Let’s get to the practical safe part and clear up a few misconceptions to make it easier.

  1. The handwashing thing. Pretend you’re a doctor on a medical drama. Wash your hands with soap and water, scrubbing over, around, between, above and below every possible surface, for a good 20–30 seconds and use your elbow to turn off the water. If you don’t want to play doctor, then sing the Happy Birthday song through twice, or the chorus from the Bee Gee’s hit Staying Alive (https://youtu.be/urPVq9IYgC0)
  2. Be immune-boosted, not immune-suppressed. Nearly all infections cause mild symptoms (see the pretty graph below). Wanna be a mild child?
  • Stay hydrated and don’t share your glass or straw.
  • Ingest your go-to virus-butt-kicking supplements, vitamins or food like Vitamins E, D3, B12, C, magnesium, potassium, elderberry, colloidal silver, reishi mushrooms etc.
  • Fill your diet with NF-kB inhibiting foods. This will keep the lung inflaming molecules from having a rave in your inspiration center. Blueberries, ginger, green tea, cacao, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, tomatoes, full-fat coconut milk, and green leafy veggies are great options. Dr. Will Cole has a complete list in his post about What Everyone Should Know About Eating to Fight Inflammation.(https://drwillcole.com/what-everyone-should-know-about-eating-to-fight-inflammation/

3. Minimize chest crud. My go-to for giving chest congestion a beatdown is toast, slathered with Kerry Gold butter and covered in slices of fresh raw garlic. You’ll kill any possible virus trying to take up residence. It also makes an excellent germ repellent by keeping germy people (and vampires) away from you, as my family will eagerly attest. Other great options are mullein or fenugreek tea or capsules.

A bunch of scientific studies have linked anxiety, worry and fear with reduced immunity. So now it’s time to check your sanity level.

  1. Unplug from the news; seriously. COVID-19, with a 3.5% fatality rate across all ages (less than 1% for those under 60), has been mentioned more than 1.1 Billion times in the media. Ebola has a 50% fatality rate, and has only made the news 11.1 million times. Sure, not a lot of folks around the world are catching Ebola these days (thankfully), but when you have 2,430 people dying daily from Hepatitis B (compared to 56/day from COVID-19) and the only time you see that virus mentioned is in the Sunday paper’s crossword puzzle, it’s clear the media coverage has run amuck. Subscribe to the CDC’s newsletter (https://tools.cdc.gov/campaignproxyservice/subscriptions.aspx) and your state’s public health publication to get alerts. And heed my advice from my singer/songwriter friend Leon Olguin about Going on a News Fast (https://youtu.be/woeYJktZuGQ)
  2. Sanitize your conversations. Rev. James again offers up the best advice I’ve seen on this: “It may be tempting to imaging worst case scenarios or to engage in conversations about how crazy everything is, or how bad the government is handling this moment. Please don’t go that route. What we know for sure is that negativity affects you negatively 100% of the time. The choice to verbalize negativity will not help you.”
  3. Shift yourself out of fear gear with positive tools. Affirmations, meditations and centering tools have been around for centuries because they work.
  • Write some simple one-liners like these my friend Sarah compiled:

“I feel safe in the rhythm and flow of ever-changing life.”

“I hold the power to make lasting change.”

“Abundance flows through me easily and effortlessly.”

“I am enough and I have everything I need to get to where I want to be.”

  • Listen to short meditations to snap you out of the insanity. A great selection of Spiritual Mind Treatments can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-5HCmw59v-c26S4TK8zo8LYHrdA-tJFu (I’d recommend starting with Healing Energyor Overwhelm)
  • Move your body. Play DJ on your music app and dance for the sheer joy of being alive. You’ll generate endorphins, those hormones of happiness.
  • Create a positive gain to offset losses. During the AIDS epidemic I was processing the deaths of 19 young friends, mourning the loss of all their collective creativity, when I realized I could honor them best by building my creativity. I began playing the harmonica again, began writing, began painting. Give yourself permission to pursue your creative passions.

Find your happy place, where you’re comfortable and confident in the way you’re engaging with information about this health issue — and own and work through your feelings and fears without discounting them. My philosophy and go-to mantra is germs have no power over meAnd I still wash my hands with soap and water. Use your inner guidance and power to build an approach that works for you. We’ll be posting some of our favorite positive memes, notes and videos to uplift you so you can stay focused on staying well.

In the meantime, I invite you to stay here for a few extra moments and breathe. Take a deep inhale, and truly feel it. Feel whatever it is you need to feel in this moment. And then release. Exhale. Let it all go.