COVID-19: What a doctor is doing to stay healthy in the pandemic

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Dr. Sarika Arora, MD

We’re all staying home as much as we can to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and keep ourselves healthy. My daily routine is radically different these days, but in staying home and  practicing physical distancing, I am finding so many new and creative ways to support my immune health and overall wellness. 

Could you use some tips on staying healthy at home? Here’s what I am doing that I know everyone can do.

Take advantage of more time to cook healthy foods 

Preparing vegetables for different recipes is almost always the most time-consuming part of cooking for me -- all that chopping!  So with more time to spend on meal prep, I am finding it easier to include more veggies in my diet. For example, I’m teaching myself how to make baked kale chips, a recipe I’ve always wanted to master. 

As part of keeping myself healthy and nourished, I am trying to get at least 5-7 servings of vegetables and 1-2 servings of fruit every day. I am eating grapefruit and papaya for the Vitamin C content, and also adding probiotic-rich foods to my meals, including organic kimchi and organic fermented beets. Maintaining a healthy gut is the first line of immune support, so I add a tablespoon of one of these foods to every lunch and dinner. As I try to stretch trips to the grocery store -- fewer trips means less risk -- I’ve found that buying a large bag of frozen berries is an easy way to always have some fruit to sprinkle over my morning bowl of gluten-free oats. 

Add vitamins and supplements for immune support 

I have slightly changed my normal supplement routine to really put the focus on immune support. I am taking added supplements of antioxidant Vitamin C, Omega-3s, a great multivitamin, and iodine. Stress can dampen the body’s immune response, and who isn’t stressed now? So I’ m also taking an adrenal support supplement to protect against the effects of stress.

Use routine and connection to minimize stress

Speaking of stress, part of my strategy to keep it minimized is to continue my normal routine of praying and meditating upon waking. With so many disruptions to everyday life, routine feels good!  And doing it first thing helps keep me on track all day.

At the beginning of the year, I started a “5-minute journal,” in which every morning I write down three things I am grateful for and three things that will make the day great. In the evening, I add three amazing things that happened that day. It’s helping so much — gratitude is the best medicine for stress!

I’m also taking extra time to call my friends and family — all the people I haven’t talked to in a while because of busy schedules! Facetiming is wonderful because you see each other. Staying socially connected, even during a time of social distancing, is so important for our emotional health. 

Take advantage of online exercise classes 

Exercise helps support immune function, so I’m on the prowl for online exercise classes to keep me moving at home. This week I took part in a virtual yoga class. I loved it! The class was relaxing and easy to follow, and it was great being able to make dinner immediately following the class. I didn’t need to spend all that time driving home. Many online exercise classes are low cost or free, and I encourage you to try one out! My personal trainer is offering virtual classes and virtual 1:1 sessions to help her clients and me to stay on track.

Use hand washing as a way to support local businesses

As a doctor, I have long been a big hand washer. It’s an essential part of our training, and the more you know about the science of soap, the more you’ll do it too.  

Dr. Bronner’s is one of my standbys and can be purchased at most grocery stores. I am also stocking up on Organic Bath Co. soaps and Cambridge Natural soaps, made locally here in the Boston area. It makes me feel good to support local businesses at this difficult time. Plus, they are great soaps! I encourage you to look for local soap companies in your own area and then frequently suds up. 

I look forward to sharing more with you about how we can all get through this with our health and wellness intact. If you found these tips helpful, please share with your friends. Send us your tips by email or on Facebook or Instagram and we’ll share them with our community.  I’ll see you (online) soon. 

COVID-19: More than the elderly are at risk. Maybe you are too.


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Last updated on 03/27/2020