from astronaut Scott Kelly and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.
Lavoie, acrobat with Canada’s Cirque du Soleil, says high-level performers
have a particular “strength in our
wheelhouse – to look at the situation and head straight to something that’s
productive, rather than dwelling on our misfortune.” Nice to be like that!
OK. Well-being is about mind, body, and spirit – or some say mind, body,
and emotions. This post is about body.
Bodies have amazing layers of defences
against getting sick. This is a time to treat those systems well – give eating for health a little more
attention than usual.
The Globe and Mail’s nutrition writer,
Leslie Beck, posted an article
about immune-supportive nutrients, with good explanations. The article
organizes these foods by nutrient, but if you’re on a tiny budget (as I am),
just lean more often towards the foods she mentions –
- almonds, dried apricots,
- beef, black beans, Brazil nuts,
fortified breakfast cereals, broccoli, brown rice, Brussels sprouts, butternut
- cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots,
cashews, cauliflower, cheese, chicken, chickpeas, citrus fruit, cottage cheese,
- halibut, hazelnuts, herring
- kale, kidney beans, kiwifruit
- lentils, liver
- mango, milk
- fortified orange juice, oysters
- green peas, peanut butter,
peanuts, pork, pumpkin seeds, bell peppers
- safflower oil, salmon,
sardines, shrimp, spinach, strawberries, sunflower oil, sunflower seeds, sweet
potato, Swiss chard, tomato juice, tuna, turkey
- wheat germ, wheat germ oil
little mild-to-moderate exercise makes
you feel better & more competent, boosts your immune system, and lifts your
mood a bit for hours after. Do not overdo
it – just take 10-15 minutes – 2-3 times a day is great, especially for
cooped-up children and under-25s who have energy
they need to burn.
Note – If you have any physical constraints, check with your doctor for what’s right for you to do. These are
only useful links; this is not medical advice!
- Canada’s famous 5BX (men) and XBX (women) – basic exercises to
achieve a reasonably high level of fitness. For any age and level. No
equipment. 11-12min/day, starting easy(ish). Designed for the RCAF in the 1950s,
after 1/3 of pilots were rated unfit. Used today by the British royal family
including William and Kate.
- DareBEE – remarkable resource site
by a small group of volunteers and fitness professionals – fitness should be “accessible for everyone, not
just people who can pay for it.” There’s something for everyone here.
I usually prefer exercise that accomplishes something (growing vegetables,
walking) but this site is becoming a constant companion.
- 30-day programs (Vitality is a
good place to start, or Baseline)
- Challenges, daily
mini-challenges, illustrated exercises
- If you want company, there’s a new
daily class with the bouncy PE with Joe Wicks
(YouTube videos, or live at 9am UK = 5am here). It’s about happiness, he says,
and “the sense of achievement comes at the end of the workout, not the start.” About
Search out spring
current rules, “You can go for a walk if you have not been diagnosed with
COVID-19, if you don’t have a recent history of travel outside the country, and
if you don’t have symptoms that could be COVID-19.” Toronto park infrastructure
is closed, but you can still walk. Go alone
or with a housemate, do not meet
up with others, and stay 6’ away from other walkers.)
Starting in March there is a joyous and totally
easy thing to do – just walk around for a few blocks searching out spring.
It doesn’t feel like spring yet – but the plants know more than we do!
Snowdrops are in bloom, yellow and blue crocuses are open, tulip leaves are poking
up. The first buds are swelling on rose bushes, and willows are turning yellow.
If you have a camera, take photos and share.
People who can’t go out need to see this too.
Especially when your mind is fast-cycling
and getting you worked up, a simple walk can put you back in control.
“Time spent in
nature is linked to lower stress, restored attention, a balanced nervous
system, increased levels of cancer-fighting “natural killer cells”, the
activation of neural pathways associated with calm, and decreased levels of
anxiety and depression. Phytoncides (compounds emitted from trees and plants),
relaxation, stress reduction and awe are known to enhance immune function.”
Spring symbolizes endurance and renewal – good
thoughts at this vexing time. Let Toronto’s marvellous natural infrastructure
help you through. It’s there, waiting for you to see it.
Take a virtual walk
Even if you can’t go out, you can still get
A study in
“horticultural therapy” showed that hospital patients who can see trees and
gardens out the window recover faster, and report less anxiety and pain, than
patients whose window looks onto a parking lot.
Experiencing nature reduces fear and pain –
what can you do with that? Well –
Imagination is a human super-power, and you
Think of a setting you like – mountain, lake, forest, beach? – or an animal,
butterfly, flower, tree. Go looking for it on the net, or in your mind`s eye.
Focus on a scene – Look closely, get immersed, imagine it with all your senses.
Water lapping on the shore, pine scent on the warm breeze… Go “away” for 5
minutes, or 20.
You can enhance the experience with birdsong (I’ve been playing these every day. They make things .. just a bit
ways to travel without leaving home.
Make a home retreat
one small corner of a room into a mini-environment.
Hang a flowered curtain or forest poster in the corner, put a comfortable chair
or cushions facing it; add a little stack of resources – hobby or craft
materials, books or magazines – and a water bottle so you don’t have to get up;
maybe an incense burner, a bunch of flowers. Set birdsong or gentle music playing
and settle in … Aaaah, that’s better!
If you have children at home, it will help
With a large screen, you can also transform
this corner into a personal travel guide – tour
world-famous sites, museums
and galleries, the
Leslie Street Spit.
It’s really nice to have a place that means
relaxing. Even in ordinary times a dedicated retreat like this is a luxury. And
it’s your home, so how you arrange your furniture is totally up to you.