Resilience during COVID-19

We had a couple of storms blow through recently…I was struck by how the trees were able to withstand all the wind, with their branches whipping back and forth.  As we move into Phase I and some carefully structured easing of the Stay at Home order in WNC, I thought about those “tree qualities” we’ve all had to cultivate over this time.  Strength.  Flexibility. Endurance.  Normally I’d be thinking about those qualities as I take a tae kwon do class, or go to the YMCA.  But with the time at home and social distancing, as human beings, these are exactly the kinds of qualities that we are internally cultivating as well.  And thank goodness for that!

Strength, flexibility and endurance are key pieces for our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional resilience during this time.  One common definition of resilience is the ability to “bounce back” after a stressful event or challenge has happened.  But a newer definition takes resilience to a higher level.  Resilience can be thought of as the capacity to prepare for, recover from and adapt in the face of stress, challenge or adversity.  I like the word “capacity” in that definition, because it means that resilience is not an “all or none” thing- it fluctuates like energy in a battery.  In these times of challenges, we build our mental, spiritual and emotional resilience capacity and have more to draw on when we need it, just like we exercise our bodies and become stronger physically.

I encourage you to continue to create simple daily ways to recharge mentally, spiritually and emotionally.  There are a variety of free resources at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, where I did my fellowship- check out the variety at

Mental and spiritual practices can be extremely helpful, and they have the extra benefit of improving our immune system function and quieting our body’s stress response.  If you can, go outside or open a window.  Spend 5-10 minutes or more focusing on the sound of the birds, or the feel of the sun on your face.  Or focus your attention on your heart, and imagine that your breath is moving in and out of your heart or chest area.  These types of meditative, centering exercises help calm and rebalance our nervous system.

Other free options include:

Kaiser Permanente free meditation audioguides-

HeartMath Global Coherence app and Inner Balance– can download these from the app store for free.  Both have audioguides, and the Global Coherence App has two audio guides specific for coronavirus.  Contact me if you would like information on how to obtain and use a HeartMath sensor for these apps.

Other smart phone apps: Breathe2Relax, Insight Timer-Guided Meditations app, Calm app

Strength, flexibility, endurance, resilience: even just a few minutes taken to support ourselves mentally and emotionally can make a big difference.  See what you think!

If you would like a personalized integrative wellness plan during this time, telemedicine consultations are available.  In-office visits are slated to restart in June- call the office at 828-333-3339 for more information.