Your Wellness Guide for Navigating Coronavirus

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To My Cherished Community,

I hope this finds you safe and well. I’ve been thinking about how I can support you and your loved ones during these difficult times. Truth is, I don’t have all the answers. But what I do have is an endless amount of love for you, so I’m going to do everything in my power to get you the resources you need to navigate coronavirus and COVID-19. We’re in this together.

I’m writing to you from my temporary home in Florida, where Brian, Lola, Tara and I recently moved to be closer to my parents. Little did I know that just weeks after road tripping down the eastern seaboard, we’d be facing an unprecedented global health crisis.

As many of you know, my amazing Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2016. Thirteen years after my own cancer diagnosis, our roles reversed overnight. My dad, who was my rock back then and still is today, became the patient. And for the first time in my own health journey, I became a caregiver.

I’m sharing this because many folks in this community are dealing with chronic health challenges that make them even more vulnerable right now. If you’re one of those people, please know that my family and I stand in solidarity with you. We’re taking extra precautions right now and encourage you to do the same.

The other reason I’m sharing my family’s story is because over the coming days and weeks, many of us will find ourselves in similarly unexpected situations. But if I’ve learned anything from my own experiences, it’s that we need each other. In times like these, we must shed our default roles and let compassion and humility lead the way.

That means listening to the experts. And when you listen, you’ll hear what is perhaps their most critical message: To minimize the damage from this outbreak, we must flatten the curve.

If you’re wondering what that means, check out this helpful article. But here’s the short version: We can limit the speed of coronavirus transmission by practicing social distancing and other protective methods. If we don’t heed this advice, there may be a huge spike (the opposite of a flattened curve) in the number of folks who get infected at once, which could in turn overwhelm our healthcare system. (You can read about the healthcare crisis in Italy for a sense of what that could mean.)

But what does that look like, practically speaking? I know that you must have a lot of questions about how to keep yourself and your loved ones well. So I went searching for the best, most reliable advice I could find, and put together the following list of tips and resources for you. By no means is this a comprehensive list, but I hope it provides you with some comfort and clarity during this challenging time.

Your Wellness Guide: 8 Ways to Support Yourself and Others During Coronavirus and COVID-19

1. Take social distancing very seriously while also staying connected.

This is perhaps the biggest, most challenging change we’re facing for the coming weeks. But social distancing only works if we all participate. This is about protecting others as much as protecting ourselves. For every known case there are likely five to 10 undetected cases, and these asymptomatic carriers may be responsible for nearly 80% of all new cases.

For a straightforward overview of social distancing practices, check out this helpful article from Johns Hopkins. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are also reliable resources for better understanding how you can help flatten the curve.

Please keep this in mind while you’re hunkered down at home: Loneliness isn’t good for us either, so don’t cut yourself off from the world! Let’s take advantage of all the amazing technology we have access to (video chat like FaceTime and Zoom, text, emails and yes, good old fashioned phone calls!). I’ll be going live on instagram to support our community, so if you need some love please come and find me (I’m @crazysexykris).

It’s also important to acknowledge that not everyone has the ability to protect themselves equally. And not everyone can weather this storm financially, either. Many folks were already hurting before the pandemic. So now is the time to up our game as a global family. The more we follow the guidelines, the more we protect the person stocking the shelves, delivering the packages, the caregivers, medical professionals and so on. For ways to contribute, see tip #8.

2. Practice extra good hygiene.

Coronavirus has spread so far and so fast because it’s primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets (which are produced by talking, coughing, etc.). And since those lil’ droplets can land pretty much anywhere, we need to take extra precautions when it comes to cleaning and hygiene.

First and foremost, wash your hands well and often! Check out this guide from the WHO to make sure you’re covering all your bases. I also shared my own tutorial video on Instagram, which you can see here.

Ramping up our hygiene efforts doesn’t stop with handwashing, though—you can also help protect yourself and others by changing your clothes when you get home, taking your shoes off at the door, disinfecting your phone and other commonly used items/surfaces. The CDC has lots of info to help you do that, including this helpful guide for protecting your home. And here’s a great video that will also show you how to protect yourself, your home and your office space.

3. Reduce stress and stay in tune with your mental health.

The uncertainty and volatility we’re experiencing right now can be extremely stressful. You may feel overwhelmed or helpless or unsettled by the many changes in your routine. But here’s the thing—stress messes with our immunity, so reducing it is of the utmost importance.

Stay informed, but limit your exposure to news (only so much is helpful). Do stuff you love—draw, sing, dance, read! Choose activities that crowd out stress with joy and calm. Here’s a great resource from the CDC on managing anxiety during this time.

One of my go-to stress reduction techniques is meditation and you can bet I’ll be doing a LOT of that over the coming weeks. It’s how I find a sense of safety within myself, even in the most unsettling circumstances. If this resonates with you, I hope you’ll try my free Instant Stress Reduction meditation below.

4. Get plenty of rest and sleep.

Sounds obvious, but the importance of sleep is often overlooked, especially when we’re stressed or dedicating time to caring for others. Getting sufficient, high-quality sleep is absolutely critical for a healthy immune system (more on how your body builds immunity while you’re asleep here). In fact, folks who get their nightly Zzzs are better at fending off viruses. So consider this your friendly reminder to get 7.5–8 hours of rest whenever possible and take naps when you need them.

I’ve written a lot about sleep here on kriscarr.com, but my two favorite articles are The Ultimate Guide to Better Sleep and How to Sleep Better and Get the Rest You Need to Thrive. I hope you find them helpful.

5. Eat and drink for your health.

Eating a whole foods, plant-based diet is one of the best ways to promote long term health and strengthen your immune system. This is not an overnight solution, so please be wary of quick fix solutions (like products that claim to give you a quick immune boost). Instead, stick with your healthy habits and/or work in a few extra nutritious plant-based meals. Check out the recipes section of my website for hundreds of delicious ideas!

And speaking of fuel, let this also be a reminder to stay hydrated. I know that coronavirus stress might make you want to take comfort in your favorite cocktail—I get it! But please keep in mind that alcohol can dehydrate you (and heavier consumption may even weaken your immune system). Whenever possible, reach for a big, hydrating glass of water (or green juice!) instead.

At a time when we need to drastically limit our trips out of the house, it’s important to carefully plan our grocery errands. Buy smart but don’t hoard. Consider shopping at odd hours to avoid busy times of day. If you can’t get everything you normally purchase, stay calm. You may have to improvise right now, and that’s ok. Please just do your best and don’t stress yourself out.

6. Keep moving.

While we may need to stay close to home right now, we don’t have to stay still. Keep dancing, stretching, walking, playing, etc—whatever your heart desires. Movement is medicine!

If you usually go to the gym, I strongly encourage you to avoid it for now. Lots of people touch and sweat on those machines, so it’s just not a risk worth taking. Instead, try some fun new at-home workouts and don’t forget to get fresh air (nature is healing—just remember social distancing if you encounter other people!)

7. Be wary of magic bullet claims.

Supplements can absolutely fill in gaps and enhance your immune system. They’re a powerful tool for ongoing wellness, so I’d strongly encourage you to continue your current supplement regimen during this time. For example, I’ve stocked up on my probiotics because gut health and immune health are siblings. However, I want to be clear that no supplement is a magic pill for vitality and certainly not for combatting a virus like the one we’re facing now. I’m seeing a lot of dubious claims flying around the internet that aren’t backed by credible research from supplement brands whose products don’t contain therapeutic doses anyway.

So instead of getting anxious about what to take, here’s what I’m doing instead: sticking with my regular, simple practice. I’m not rushing out to buy products I don’t know how to use or know if they’re even effective (or contraindicated for certain conditions). Instead, I’m investing my money in healthy food and focusing on the practices referenced here.

8. Help each other.

Almost overnight we find ourselves in an economy that’s ground to a halt. A lot of people and businesses in our communities are already feeling the hurt. So if you have the means, please consider some of these ways to help our friends weather this storm.

  • Donate to your local food bank.
  • Prepay for services (hair styling, home care, gift certificates to your favorite restaurant, etc.).
  • Foster a pet. Shelters around the world are struggling with an uptick in animals and less adoptions, which often means more euthanasia. According to the CDC, WHO and the American Veterinary Medical Association pets are not at risk of spreading COVID-19—but they sure can brighten our days. Now may be a lovely time to welcome a fur kid into your heart and home.

Take care of yourself, dear one.

I know how scary this must be for you. I admit, I’m a little scared too. But my soul fire—the one that fuels my hope and resolve—is still burning bright, and you can come sit by it whenever you need to. I am with you, as is our entire Crazy Sexy Team, and we plan to do whatever we can to help you navigate this challenging reality. We love you so very much!

Your turn: What are you doing to take care of yourself and stay connected right now? Let’s share ideas and support each other in the comments below!

Peace & all my love,

Kris Carr

P.S. Activate your relaxation response in minutes!

Meditation is one of my go-tos when life gets stressful and in today’s uncertain world, I’m relying on my practice more than ever. I know you might be looking for ways to manage extra stress right now, so please enjoy this free Instant Stress Reduction guided meditation, on me.