As I look back on the past four weeks, it really seems like it has been a much longer time period. I must admit that I was not sleeping very well the first week due to the constant worry that the business we had built up over the past 25 years could potentially close due to the COVID 19 virus. I resorted to drinking one to two glasses of red wine a night, it's good for you right? Well, in moderation, yes, some studies show that, but I was definitely going a bit overboard. "It's 5:00 somewhere became our afternoon saying when it was time to watch our Governor's report on the state of Illinois."
I realized after week two of the shelter in place order, I would have to make some changes. I had been eating very healthy meals and snacks, but with all three of our kids at home, two of whom like to bake, it was hard to resist delicious treats especially after a few glasses of wine. Being a physical therapist, I know that having a healthy immune system is one of the keys to avoiding any virus so I would have to up my game if I wanted to function at my best. I have made some positive changes and have become a much healthier version of myself than when I started the year. I have never been one to make new year's resolutions, however, I try throughout the year to make small changes that, in the long run, impact my life. Here are some things that helped me. Pick a few out for yourself to make the rest of this lockdown a healthier one.
- Stay the same weight or don't gain the COVID 19: I started following the TLS Lifestyle (Transitions Lifestyle System) about four years ago and I am grateful they have a week detox kit that helps me when challenging times come along. I became a weight loss coach about that same time and thought the best way to know how to mentor someone would be to go through the process. It's not a diet but a lifestyle system. Those with a BMI of 28 or more appear to have nearly 6x the odds of suffering a severe case of COVID19 course. The average BMI in the US exceeds 29. (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3548785) I learned many new recipes along my TLS journey, some that even my kids have enjoyed. Who knew cauliflower can be used in place of tortillas? I even made up a recipe last month called Quarantine Quinoa, you can view my demo here: https://www.facebook.com/220231406132/videos/216795479409405/
- Eat Right For Your Type: I met an incredible nurse named Linda Sereika (https://www.facebook.com/220231406132/videos/186212646066466/) who examined my blood a few years back and suggested: "Eat Right For Your Type". That's a blood type diet based on a book by Dr. Peter D'Adamo. I am an A+ blood type so I do better with a plant-based diet which I was doing for the most part. I did have to omit some nightshade veggies, go gluten-free (which wasn't too hard, as I have two kids with Celiac Disease) and give up red meat. Not that I have been committed to it 100% of the time, but I must say I have more energy and sleep better when I do stick to the guidelines. Thank God red wine is beneficial to my blood type!!
- Take Supplements: First of all, I want to be very clear that there is no research that shows taking any supplement will prevent or cure COVID19. Linda had suggested a few supplements based on the findings from my blood analysis and recently I completed a Gene SNP analysis through our supplement company nutraMetrix. I had been having success taking Vitamin D and B-Complex and one of our products has both of those added into a multivitamin called Isotonix Essentials Anti-Aging which makes it easy to take first thing in the morning. Adding Digestive Enzymes with probiotics and ACTS into the mix has also been helpful during these trying times.
Digestive Enzymes are catalytic proteins that help the body break down food to utilize the complete spectrum of nutrients in the food we eat. They help replenish the essential enzymes and "good" bacteria in our gut. Other benefits include supporting the immune system, supporting the body in maintaining proper digestive functions, and promoting healthy bowel movements. Who wouldn't want that? https://www.nutrametrix.com/product/nutrametrix-isotonix-digestive-enzymes-with-probiotics/?id=5664715&idType=product
ACTS stands for Adrenal, Cortisol, Thyroid, and Stress Support and truly helped me get some solid sleep when the stress levels were up due to working 10-12 hour days. Linda suggested to me that my adrenal gland may be overworked which could possibly suppress my thyroid function. Cortisol levels have a direct relationship with the thyroid; the right amount of cortisol will allow the thyroid to function normally. The problem is constant stress can lead to excess cortisol production which stimulates glucose production. The extra sugar is typically converted into fat and can lead to binge eating. Thankfully, the ingredients of Holy Basil and Ashwagandha help to promote healthy adrenal gland function and minimize weight gain that is associated with increased stress. https://www.nutrametrix.com/search/?keyword=ACTS
- Start the day with warm lemon water: The TLS program started me on this habit, and I enhanced it by adding green tea. See the link below for the list of reasons. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/06/7-reasons-to-start-your-day-with-lemon-water-infographic/
- Participate in daily Yoga: I truly enjoyed the Yoga classes we offered at FYZICAL - Naperville 3 days a week and once it stopped, I realized how tight I had become, especially when sitting at a computer for 8 hours a day. I encouraged our fantastic instructor Sharon to try to stream it through Facebook and although a little apprehensive at first she did agree and her classes have helped hundreds of people reduce their stress levels and take an hour off from the 24/7 coverage of the pandemic. Please sample a class. https://www.facebook.com/220231406132/videos/243488526855023/
- Bring back the joy of Ping Pong: Last year we brought our old ping pong table in from the garage for a large family gathering to use as a dining table, we decided to leave it in our "great room" and I am so glad we did. Nightly games have become quite competitive at the Rachford home. I remember reading in one of Dr. Daniel Amen's books about brain health how good ping pong is for the brain and after this month I can truly agree. I miss playing volleyball and pickleball so much but Ping Pong and Wii's "Just Dance" have kept my brain from deteriorating. Sting pong, now that's an entirely different story. If you don't know what that game is, ask a youngster.
- Determine your BodyQ score at FYZICAL: BodyQ is an integrated testing program addressing movement, function, general health, vision, hearing, balance, and recovery. Its primary function is to save you injury and damage down the road. The test will also help you in other ways, whether you want to increase your energy levels, recover from injury or illness, run your first 5K, lose 10 pounds, or just feel stronger. BodyQ testing can jump-start you on the way to achieving your goals. It helped me get on a healthier path at the beginning of this year and I am glad I know my score. Call the nearest FYZICAL to find your BodyQ once we can all return to normal or by going to www.myBodyQ.com. We will be offering a 50% discount on this one hour test in the summer.
- Get a dog: We adopted a rescue dog five years ago. Wyatt was about a year old when we got him. Among the many responsibilities that come with dog ownership, walking the dog is a very good form of exercise – for the dog and for me too! It is nice to go for a long quick-paced walk with him. I enjoy nature during our time away from the shelter in place order. Of course, the unconditional love he offers always brightens my day. He is truly enjoying all the extra bodies around the house, too.
- Get more sleep than usual: I have always enjoyed getting eight hours of sleep a night. I think it goes back to my Irish mother making my five siblings and me take naps until we were in 3rd grade. I think she just enjoyed the peace and quiet when we were all sleeping so she would also make us go to bed early. What I have truly enjoyed during this time has been nine to ten hours a night, I know that sounds crazy, but I am not a big TV fan so there really isn't much to do after ping pong and reading for a bit at night. I haven't been setting an alarm, just waking up when my body tells me to, and it feels good. I wasn't sleeping so soundly as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, so I have resorted to a little supplemental help using Prime Dreamz (melatonin, magnesium, chamomile, and passionflower blend) and Turn Down (designed for relaxation, featuring a custom blend of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals in one packet that helps to quiet my body, mind and supports quality sleep).
- Practice self-care: Take this extra time and do something you enjoy, don't put pressure on yourself to get a lot of projects done. I was doing that until I read this great article my sister shared with me. I will no longer feel bad that my basement still looks like a disaster has hit it or that I have not taken up playing the piano again. I will enjoy long sleeps, quiet Yoga classes, and sitting on the front porch with my husband and three children who won't be around the house much longer and be happy for this time we all have together. https://www.upworthy.com/coronavirus-productivity-motivation-myths-dangers?fbclid=IwAR11kMT1gaUTeOdV7cgLllX6L6_CUQa9ReW3i5rvPHUMz2dizufimoV_xHc
In closing, I hope that you can all remain healthy at home and find joy in the small things that many of us, including me, have taken for granted over the years. In the words of Naval Ravikant, "Doctors won't make you healthy. Nutritionists won't make you slim. Teachers won't make you smart. Gurus won't make you calm. Mentors won't make you rich. Trainers won't make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself."
Mary Rachford, Clinic Owner and Physical Therapist
Mary has been providing physical therapy services for 32 years in the western suburbs of Chicago. Her clinic, FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers - Naperville has been serving the community for 26 years offering much more than your typical physical therapy clinic. She focuses on improving all patient's quality of life by using a holistic, whole-body approach to connect a patient's diagnosis with a customized plan of care. Since graduating from Marquette University, Mary has concentrated her practice in orthopedic and sports rehabilitation with a special interest in balance and chronic pain. She participated in volleyball as a collegiate athlete and shared her passion for the sports for many years as a coach. Mary is a proud mom of three and a wife to her business manager husband, Gary. When not in the clinic, she loves to cook, play volleyball, participate in Yoga classes and walk her rescue dog, Wyatt.