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10 Things I Learned While in Quarantine

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

1. The refrigerator needs an automatic lock during “grazing” hours. 


Now that was way too easy to just walk a few steps and grab a few more squares of chocolate or make yet another cup of coffee or just one more handful of chips. Or even worse, later evening snacking. It’s okay to do sometimes. No one has a perfect diet all of the time. But 3 months of that and it might mean it’s time to go clothes shopping. What great timing as the retail stores have finally opened! But not really great as now your glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, fat storage and therefore inflammatory markers have elevated. Time to rethink and readjust the calories going in vs the calories burned.   


2. Oh how I’ve missed my gym: Why walking is not the same as cardio and weights. 


Walking outdoors in the fresh air rain or shine on bike trails or nature/wooded dirt trails all year long is one of my favorite things to do. It’s invigorating yet calming, it can be socializing yet a time for self-reflection and contemplation, and it’s just holistically balancing for body, mind and spirit. While walking is a perfectly healthy form of exercise, it does not even come close to the metabolism boosting effects as my cardiovascular and muscle strengthening classes at my gym – that just opened up thankfully! When the body engages in both cardiovascular exercise (aerobic) and muscle strengthening exercise (anaerobic), the fat burning that occurs is exponential. When muscles become stronger = increased metabolism = increased fat loss = increased energy = improved mood = deeper sleep. Always, always appreciated when the body feels healthier.  


3. What’s wrong with Monday night drinking? 


Nothing. As long as it doesn’t sequence into Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’ve talked to many people over these last few months about their “new habits” during quarantine and one of them is their coveted nightly ritual of having alcohol instead of weekends, few days per week or socially. In fact, alcohol and tobacco sales increased as did prescription of psychiatric/mental health medications for conditions like anxiety, depression and insomnia. Is regular, nightly drinking of adult beverages really that bad? Yep, for many reasons. Your liver, your brain, your gut, your respiratory and immune systems, your joints, your skin, your mood, your sleep, your energy and your waistline may not respond favorably in the way you’d like. Alcohol is always best in moderation or avoided for some people. But you knew that already. 


4. The media has a gluttonous need for your attention and approval. 


The media is highly dependent on you to watch, listen to and read their stories. And they will go to many lengths to keep you tuned in. They are fantastic for delivering essential information that can help you in countless ways. They are also fantastic at manipulating you into feeling fear and anxiety. Be objective, open-minded, do your research and know the facts.  How quickly the “15 Minutes of Fame” of the Coronavirus has been upstaged by other more significant and catastrophic issues – business obliteration, economic downturn and changes and relentless racism. As the world turns, we will continue to witness transformation.  

  

5. Puppies are adorable, they make you really popular…and yet they are destructive little buggers. 


 If I had known what I was getting into (and what would transpire) when I decided to adopt a German Shepherd puppy, I don’t think I would have gone for the plunge. This sweet new creature adds a drastic overhaul on your life, time, schedule, home, car, yard, budget, sleep, shoes, social life and more. The cuteness remains constant. The destruction of things in my home and car have left me feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. I’m certainly not the first or only dog owner to feel this way in these beginning stages. What I’ve learned is – besides supplying copious amounts of chew toys and exercise – when you consistently give them your time, energy, attention and love, their loyalty and unconditional love shows up almost immediately. Compare that with human strangers you’ve just met where the bond takes far more time to develop. This sweetheart puppy learns quickly, is easily trainable, is incredibly affectionate, “defends” me with her bark and has repeatedly confirmed my decision that it was the right one to make. As so many dog owners understand, dogs really do make the best loving companions.   


6. The realness and authenticity of human faces are meant to be seen and enjoyed.


It’s just not the same human experience when talking with another person wearing a mask. As a doctor, I understand physiologically and immunologically why this practice was initiated. While it remains a controversial issue to wear one, not only does it create a physical barrier, it can lead to an emotional and psychological barrier as well. The eyes are known as the windows to the soul. I believe that our faces are known as the windows to the heart. Without seeing the whole face in its entirety, the human connection becomes deficient or lost. With a mask, you can’t see a heartfelt smile nor sense the emotions beaming from that person’s face and presence. Someday, these masks will fall away for good and I look forward to the day when I can see everyone’s unique and beautiful smiling faces.     


7. The arrival of Summer (and next year 2021) has never been more anticipated.   


With the roller coaster of events these last several months, it’s been enough to make anyone feel like they are living out a bizarre dream, in the twilight zone, or just annoyingly out of sorts. Our sense of normalcy, routines, control and freedom was/is affected and many are now happily pursuing upcoming trips, vacations, activities, new or different business opportunities and most importantly, visiting and spending more time with people you’ve missed.  With so many special events and gatherings unfortunately canceled for the remainder of this year, it makes the anticipation of 2021 even more exciting. Live music and summer concerts amongst hundreds/thousands of people will be something I’ll miss immensely.


Practicing patience and gratitude for what’s currently working and evolving are really critical at this time.   


8. Stillness, quiet & solitude builds character. 


I’ll also add that for those of you in busier, fuller homes with lots of activities, varying schedules, chaos, clutter and excessive “closeness” – that experience also builds character. For countless people across the world (including myself), I found that I was spending more time alone than usual. While fortunately I was able to fill those “empty spaces” with personal activities, exercise and work responsibilities (online marketing!) and see people “from a distance” as much as possible, I realized that at times it was too much alone time.


I started to feel distressed – anxious or sad. I can spend time alone without feeling lonely and do this pretty often. Yet, I can also spend time with certain people and feel completely unseen, unheard, invalidated and feel a terrible sense of loneliness. As much as I became tired of hearing the overused saying “alone together” it couldn’t be more true. During those times when I was feeling too alone, I’d reach out to several people to talk or connect in some way. That helped. It also helped to repeatedly remind myself of the millions of people on this planet that are feeling the same sense of “isolation” along with the reminders that so many people in my life love and care for me. When you realize that you are not alone in this world, it eases away the distress. And when you can spend more time alone (forced or not), it really does makes you more self-reliant, stronger and lessens the dependency on others to fill the “empty spaces” for you. 


9. Uncertainty is a golden opportunity for strengthening your faith. 


Not knowing and being unable to predict the outcome of life’s events is really difficult for most people. We tend to prefer things that are unsurprising, familiar and foreseeable. Naturally, humans like to feel in control. Uncertainty can invoke fear, anxiety, restlessness and often we make poor decisions in the face of fear.


Collectively and individually, going through new territory along a path that is uncomfortable has the powerful opportunity to help you rely on faith. It’s knowing that life has a way of working out in your favor, for your highest good and for the good of all – even if it doesn’t feel or look good right now. Or simply telling yourself that verbally or internally and practicing that belief can further strengthen that faith muscle. And repeated thoughts, words, actions can evolve into things and life circumstances. Faith – it’s free, it’s simple and it works.  


10. Human beings are essential for better physical & emotional health and longevity. 


Modern technology is pretty outstanding and amazing at how we are able to see and talk to other humans across this magnificent planet. A hundred years ago, would have thought videoconferencing across the oceans and continents could even be a possibility. It has made our personal and work lives far more efficient, convenient and enjoyable. It has digitally connected billions of people that otherwise would never come together. With what’s happened in the last few months at maintaining a physical distance from others, along with the gradual re-opening of restaurants, coffee places, retail stores, gyms, I continue to see those little circles or diamonds that state something like “6 Feet Apart – Keep Your Distance.” I understand but it still saddens me. Humans are created to physically, emotionally and socially connect with each other. It is an essential requirement for the human brain, heart and spirit. That need for a sense of belonging, relationship and community building and being part of a collective “tribe” is vital for optimal health and longevity. Loneliness and isolation are detrimental to one’s health and in fact can shorten your lifespan. This whole experience has made me really appreciate and value human relationships in the physical form far exceeding phone calls, texting and videoconferencing. Good, positive and loving humans in person = better health, happiness and quality of life.   


Enjoy the good things yet to come!  


Dr. Kristi  

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