Quarantine has touched every part of our lives — from what we do for a living to how we have fun to how we stay healthy in a brave new world. But with no proven or solid guide for dealing with our current situation, most of us are left wondering where we go from here. Will we be left to our own devices to keep ourselves and loved ones physically and mentally healthy for the foreseeable future?
These are universal unknowns, yet entirely personal. How we individually handle the stress that comes with loss, temporary or permanent, varies widely. For some, it affects every part of every day, including sleep, mood, nutrition, and exercise. For others, the pandemic has been a pivot point for making systematic changes in a life that will never resemble the past. For most, it has been a mix of both — daily emotional swings between sorrow and comfort, loss and hope, grief, and relief.
In this blog series, we’ll cover all aspects of what we’re calling “quarantine recovery.” You may just now be feeling the effects from months of isolation. Delayed onset of these physical and mental consequences is very real. We’re here to start a conversation, let you know that you’re not alone, and inspire you into action whenever it feels appropriate.
As we move out of quarantine, our risks may increase. What lifestyle issues make us most vulnerable? What underlying medical and environmental issues put us at greater risk? And if we are exposed, how can we minimize the likelihood of experiencing adverse effects? Let’s dig in.
Quarantine Impacts: Stress, Mood, Nutrition, Exercise & More
The impacts of the shutdown have shifted just about every aspect of daily life. Due to health worries, closures, social distancing, and job and financial loss, we’ve seen steep increases in stress. You may have experienced new and significant shifts in mood, too. Unfortunately, stress hampers the body’s natural immune function making us more susceptible to imbalances and unexpected health challenges, which is the exact opposite of what we need right now.
A lack of normal routine has changed our nutrition and eating habits. For example, we might be choosing more comfort or convenient foods or struggling with emotional eating and healthy consumption.
Our communal exercise habits have also been upended, as gyms and studios have closed and outdoor space has been off limits for many. Like proper stress management and nutrition, exercise is crucial for metabolic health and immunity.
For many, our sleep quality and routines have taken a nosedive. With work-at-home and/or kids-at-home being the new norms, routines and schedules are altered, piling on a host of daily stressors that may impact the deep, regenerative sleep that our bodies crave. And how about those vivid dreams? These are clear signs that something is out of whack.
Immune Resiliency: Nutritional Deficiencies & Chronic Conditions
Adding greater stress, many of us suffer from underlying health conditions or the consequences of poor nutrition. Poor diet and daily nutrient deficiencies make us more vulnerable by weakening immune defenses overall.
In fact, one recent national health and nutrition examination survey — Prevalence of Optimal Metabolic Health in American Adults — showed that only about 12 percent of American adults are metabolically healthy. That means that only a small fraction of us maintain ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference, without using medications. This only puts us at greater risk.
There are also clear ties between cardiometabolic health and disease risk. For example, we’re seeing that chronic conditions like poor blood sugar and blood pressure regulation may increase our risk and lead to heightened, more severe complications.
There are also environmental issues like urban pollutants, food toxin exposures and climate-change effects that feel out of our control yet can hinder our immune system’s ability to work at optimal levels, leaving us more susceptible.
Realigning Post-Quarantine Health Goals
So where, really, do we go from here? Well, how about up? We’ve already seen the bottom, so there’s plenty of hope. There’s no need to feel disempowered because there’s so much you can do to improve your metabolic health. Here are a few goals to start enhancing immune resilience using diet, lifestyle, and supplementation strategies.
Start by removing toxins that may have been hindering your metabolic health and immunity. The best detox protocols can give your body a restart by gently flushing years of environmental containment buildup.
Create a strong foundation for metabolic health by optimizing in four key areas: diet, sleep, movement, and stress and mood management.
Once you restore base metabolic health, maintain it with regular check-ins. Keep a nutrition journal. Have your body composition checked. Make exercising social to keep accountable. Consider a blood draw to uncover vitamin and mineral deficiencies that you could be replacing.
Advance your core health with nutrients that support your best barrier: your immune system. Modern nutraceuticals are designed to take your health to the next level by bio-absorbing at a cellular level to give your body what today’s tough environment has taken from it.
Good luck on your path to quarantine recovery, and stay tuned for more practical, actionable information in our next blogs: