Mental health during lockdown
The impact of being seperated from family, friends and our usual social groups cannot be underestimated. We are indeed living in strange times, an unknown. Which in itself can cause anxiety.
One of the biggest problems of lockdown is loneliness. Even without lockdown loneliness has been a growing problem, especially with families living further apart than they used to. Long-term loneliness is associated with an increased risk of certain mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and elevated stress levels. The long-term impact can be very hard to manage.
Staying in touch via social media is top of the list but how about writing letters or cards? It seems the post is making a comeback and it' s lovely to receive a letter knowing someone has thought about you.
Join an online group that interests you. It doesn't really matter what it is, just being with others (even if it is online).
Helping others takes the emphasis off ourselves for a bit and the sense of not being 'the only one' feeling this way can make a real difference to our own sense of wellbeing. Even if it's just a phone call or a visit to take some food round.
A call to the Doctor can put you in touch with an organisation called 'Talkworks' which is an organisation that helps a person to identify what they are feeling and why and most importantly how to change it.
Having practiced mindfulness for some time, I have personally found that sometimes it is good just to sit with that feeling of unease without trying to change it. Rather than trying to distract ourselves with TV, food or activities actually feeling our emotions is cathartic and means we don't stuff them down. In ignoring our emotions we are doing ourselves a disservice. Where does this emotion go?
Emotion is just energy....energy in motion. Energy is supposed to move by its very nature. If we don't allow it to move by expressing it in some way then it will get 'stuck' and cause blockages in our outer bodies, the ones we can't see which are also known as our energy bodies or auric field. Eventually leading to some form of disorder or disease.
Real and lasting health is about honouring when we aren't feeling good, as well as when we are.
Instinctively we know, when it is appropriate to seek help. When feeling low for a long time, everyone's 'long time' will be different and can range from days to months or even longer.
The key is to give ourselves enough space to recognise our needs. Whether that be a rest, to think, to laugh, to cry or just to be.
It's the middle of winter and I'm feeling like staying in bed.....!
However most of us have to work right? Part of my work this year is trying protocols on myself before recommending them to clients.
Number 1 on my list- anti- candida diet.
Finally, I am going to do a candida cleanse. Which is partly a detox, partly re-set and probably most importantly a gut treatment. I have been putting this off for so long, that I cannot feasibly give myself any more excuses! Oh no, I know the reason why I haven't done it and it's mainly to do with sugar. I like it. I also like dark chocolate and my understanding is I'll have to give both up for at least a month to have any chance of this working. Hmmm. Some of the information I have read has been conflicting...there is no such thing as an anti-candida diet or they don't work as candida is notoriously hard to get rid of. It can be bought on by stress or illness and is often a by product of an imbalance of gut bacteria which can also be due to multiple reasons. Stress, medication and antibiotics being just some.
I'll start on Monday, fingers crossed I can even make through the first day!....If it works!
So here I am on a Monday evening thinking about that wine I have in the fridge left over from the weekend. You see, it's been open 3 days and if I don't drink it soon it will go off:). The things I tell myself!
I have been cutting down sugar now slowly for the past few weeks. For me it's the easiest way to do it. When I gave up smoking, I did the same and although it took me some time, it worked and I never looked back. I wonder if that's because I know I 'started' something today that I'm craving something I shouldn't be having already. Probably, I would say a good percentage of change is about our psychological processes.
I had a parasitology test last week, which is used to detect parasites as well as beneficial intestinal microflora, imbalanced flora, and bacterial or fungal pathogens. I am awaiting the results to see what to do next but it may be helpful in indicating some useful antifungal supplements.
- I did have that wine so technically this is still the first week. I'm finding it hard to completely stop eating fruit. I have cut out nearly ALL my sugar but then remembered that refined carbohydrates like crisps are broken down in the body very quickly into ....yes you guessed it...sugar! Aghhh! I ask myself is this really realistic, in a world were there is so much temptation, so much fast and junk food? Being primarily plant based does mean I'm necessarily healthier either. My conclusion is just to eat the way we would have done a few hundred years ago. Everyone is different so will thrive on a different diet and it also depends on where you are from geologically as genetics will play some part in how your diet affects your health. The good news though is that it is likely to play a smaller part than previously thought. Our environment has much more of an impact. My stool test results have come back and they are all negative. I am now going to start introducing oil of oregano which is thought to be a good anti- fungal and a good daily probiotic with Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotics. Bifidobacterium are reduced with age along with levels of glutathione in the liver, necessary for adequate detoxification of mycotoxins (secondary effects of moulds which have adverse effects).
Pretty much the same for last 2 weeks. I have been feeling very tired on and off but that isn't particularly unusual for me. I have found that my sleep is disrupted and has been for the last few weeks. Meaning it's harder to get to sleep and also stay asleep.
I can also feel a sore throat coming on, which I have been warding off with 100mg vitamin C daily. The best form is liposomal vit C which is more easily absorbed by the body but due to the covid it had all but run out. So I am using a mixture of Amla powder (pretty disgusting but high in vit C), Acerola cherry powder and vit C supplements. Lack of sleep may be impacting on my immunity as may be any toxins which may be being released.
Candida can be very hard to eliminate as it hides in 'biofilms' which are formations that occur when a group of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses attach themselves to a surface and create a colony which acts a shield of 'slime'. This makes it difficult for anti fungal treatments or our own immune cells to get to the candida and destroy it. Candida lives in our gut and often harmoniously, it only becomes a problem when our immune system is not up to par and numbers then multiply and cause symptoms. Which begs the question-why bother trying to eliminate it if it just surfaces when we are ill? Mainly because it has other repercussions long term. Candidiasis is the infection caused by candida fungi which is usually localised to the mouth, gastrointestinal tract or vagina. It can become more serious though when someone is severely immunocompromised, perhaps due to other illnesses such as cancer or medications such as corticosteroids. In some cases it could become'deep candidiasis' and contaminate the bloodstream.
Curcumin: I make a tumeric paste quite regularly and the active compound is curcumin, a polyphenol. The major effects of curcumin are its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It scavenges free radicals in the body which are known to cause damage to cells proteins and DNA, causing many degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, dementia and diabetes. Studies have suggested that curcumin was effective in the management of many painful and inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis. This could mean that curcumin may offer an alternative to NSAIDS for patients (due to its anti-inflammatory action) with little side effects.
However, curcumin can be poorly absorbed and rapidly eliminated from the body, so if making your own, be sure to add some black pepper and oil such as coconut oil to help with absorption. This is the recipe that I use but you will need a high speed blender. I use a Thermomix. https://www.recipecommunity.com.au/basics-recipes/fresh-turmeric-ginger-golden-paste/zumf9vh2-e2e5e-642159-beea0-zwa4zy6t.
New curcumin products with much greater bioavailability are now on the market.
The amount you should take can vary but studies have indicated that taking 400 mg powder per day containing 80 mg curcuminoids shows improvements in conditions associated with systemic inflammation such as metabolic syndrome and taken 3 times a day has been shown to improve pain and functionality on osteoarthritis patients. One fresh teaspoon of ground turmeric has around 200 mg's of curcumin. The most common regimen is one to three 500 mg capsules daily with or without food. The quantity and dosage varies depending on the origin, source and condition that you are treating. Taking turmeric may also help in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, thus enhancing recovery and subsequent performance in active people. In addition, a relatively low dose can provide health benefits for people that do not have diagnosed health conditions.
Caution during pregnancy and lactation. Avoid in peptic ulcers, gallstones and biliary obstruction. May have an additive effect with anticoagulants and NSAIDs.