As the nurse here at Liberty Christian School, I've shared a lot about the biology of Covid-19. However, I think one of the things that needs our attention as this pandemic drags on is the emotional and mental toll this is taking on all of us, including our children.
Many of you may not know this but I volunteer as the Parish Nurse at my church in Reisterstown. I’ve been a volunteer Parish Nurse since 1990, which spans my entire career as a medical professional. I worked in the ICU full time for most of my career and saw so much suffering, therefore I was drawn to what Parish Nursing is: treating the whole person: Body, Mind, and Spirit. The premise is that when one of these is out of balance, so are the other two. I’ve found this to be very true personally as well as for those entrusted to my care.
Included are some tips below that will be helpful for at least one of these three entities and in turn they will positively affect the other two.
Mrs. Antoine and I had the privilege of meeting with Dr. La Keita Carter via zoom only a few short weeks ago. Dr. Carter founded The Institute of Healing AKA “iHeal” located in Owings Mills and was recommended to us by a parent who recently participated in a post doctoral internship with Dr. Carter and iHeal. The institute offers community outreach and can do group education about various topics. They also have several mental health counselors (as well as evening and weekend hours) and most importantly they see ages 4 and up! iHeal takes many forms of insurance while also having resources for pro bono work! Mrs. Antoine and I are in the process of exploring how we may partner with them in the coming months, so stay tuned!
If you’d like to read more about iHeal this is their website:
Though it is a goal for LCS, at present we do not have a mental health counselor on campus. I had been looking for a way to care for our community from the perspective of mental health. When the recommendation to iHeal came from one of our parents, I decided that God was urging me to look into this as a potential option for our community. Both Mrs. Antoine and I were very impressed with not only iHeal’s capacity to care for mental health, but also their education and outreach for groups.
Now, below are some things you can do for your Body, Mind, and Spirit.
**It is always a good idea for you to check with your doctor when adding any vitamins to your daily regimen. These are suggestions based on what most adults can tolerate, however every person is different.
*Drink - Masks are a hindrance to this health goal. I believe it's the reason why more people tend to have sore throats. Further, stay hydrated at home so you don't become dehydrated. I’ve spoken about this idea before, but check out: liquidiv.com - they now have some new flavors like orange and pina colada. It’s loaded with vitamins, non GMO, gluten free, soy free. Putting one of these in your drinks is the same as drinking 2-3 bottles of water. Note the sodium content and match that with your health history to be sure you stay at the proper amount of sodium per day.
*Vitamin C - I use Airborne for the Vitamin C** and the other good things in it to boost my immune system. High dose Vitamin C has also been linked to good results early in COVID-19 illnesses. As always, discuss your personal health with your physician, but even normal doses of Vitamin C will help give your immune system more "muscle" right now.
*Vitamin D - this is exciting. LOTS of new research has linked Vitamin D** as a key, consistent factor in those with COVID-19 illness. Those with more severe illness *started* with low Vitamin D levels. Your doctor can send you for a quick blood draw to see where you stand and you can go from there with regard to dosing. In the past when something "tries to chase me" I always increase my daily dose of Vitamin D to 15,000 IU (milliunits) from my typical 2,000 IU. It helps knock out whatever it is and keeps it from taking hold of me. Now it makes even more sense with the new studies surrounding vitamin D and coronavirus.
*Try to keep some sort of a schedule - This has been a tough one for me. We are all home more and maybe even working from home - so perhaps now our home space and work space have blended together? Try to find a work space that’s separate from your living space if you can. This goes for the kids “school time,” too. Then, close the door (I.e. close down the work/school) at a certain time. Pick up a good book to read or play a game with the kids/family. Redirection toward positive things helps our spirits.
*Sleep - Please get rest. Your body heals itself from the daily insults when you sleep. If you need some help, use Melatonin** if your health history allows it. I take 10 mg but there are 5mg doses as well. You may notice your body needs to absorb it several hours before your actual bedtime. Play around with timing and dosages on the weekend first in order to see how your body responds.
*Manage stress - in appropriate ways. Only you know how to best "fill your cup." I'm just saying now, more than ever, we ALL have to be doing that. This is a hard school year for all of us. Try to use your weekends to have time to reset. Do what fills your soul.
*Be in prayer - Look, we can't do what we are doing alone, friends. This is taking supernatural guidance - I've seen God at work throughout the process on numerous occasions dating back to February 2020 when things really started ramping up. So, this tells me that we need to remember and accept that we *must* rely on Him in all things right now. We are only human. Once we have done all the "humanly things" - God will come alongside us!
*Go easy on yourself and others - We simply cannot raise expectations so high of ourselves or others that it creates even more stress. It’s ok not to be perfect (I’m talking to myself here, too!) This can be a big source of stress if we expect things to be “normal” in an “abnormal” situation.
*Remember we are all on the same "team." Our frustrations with masks or other mitigation measures, processes, or technology are symptoms of a frustration with a virus/a pandemic - not with one another. If we keep that in mind, we will stay cohesive as a community during this time.
*Speak positive and thankful words - We have so much we can complain about, so take a minute to speak out loud about a few things (or people) you are thankful for. It's impossible to stay unhappy when you are in an attitude of gratitude and counting your blessings. A counselor once told me, “If you only have ONE thing to be grateful for, keep speaking *that* thing. Pretty soon as you start to feel better and circumstances improve, you will see that you have many things to be thankful for, they were just “covered up” by the heavy stuff. I’ve found this to be true time and again since they spoke those words to me.
*Know when you need a time out - Refrain from answering a phone call, email or text (as I say to myself “Tracy, back away from the keyboard!”) until your spirit needs to be in a better spot. A delay in reacting almost always works out well if we are in a tough spot emotionally.
*Limit news and social media - This is a BIG one for me. I’m a “scroller” when I’m idle. I find it helpful to put my phone out of reach so that I can’t just pick it up and start scrolling. I’m finding it soul filling to be “less connected.” There is plenty of angst in our country about many things and for me? Well, I’ve found that the more I consume, the less settled my spirit is, so perhaps less consumption of news and social media will help your spirit, too?
*Stay in the word - Do an online Bible Study with friends and/or family. Grab a daily devotional. What I find uncanny about devotionals is that often the passage I’m reading for that particular day is *exactly* what I needed to hear. I also get a daily scripture text from 95.1 Shine FM and it starts my day off on the right foot 9 times out of 10.
*Always remember, God sees around corners and works upstream. Let Him lead you. Some of the best journeys I have been on were when I fully surrendered to where He wanted to use me and my talents.
LCS Family, this is tough stuff. It’s hard. It’s not pleasant all the time. There is stress. However, God created us to be in community and just know you are not alone in how you feel. There is always someone to reach out to here. I’m here - and you know where to find me.
May God’s blessing sustain and protect you.
In His Service,
Mrs. Tracy Tambaoan, BSN, RN