“When will there be good news?” is the title of a book in one of my favourite detective series by Kate Atkinson. It’s something I have been muttering under my breath a lot recently along with some juicy and incredibly rude words (words which cannot be repeated in a post for INSPIRELLE!)
A contagious and nasty new virus is rampaging throughout the world, tearing through countries, communities and families, and leaving a trail of sickness and suffering. It’s hard to feel “inspiring” when everything at the moment is focused on “surviving”, getting through days of bleaker and bleaker news and wondering when and how it is all going to end.
The economic fall out is catastrophic too. Here in France, businesses have been battered by a constant wave of events beyond their control. The gilets jaunes, the strikes, and just when life was starting to get back to normal, COVID-19.
It has been highlighted that this economic crash might be positive for our environment. After all, less travel and more remote work result in lower carbon emissions. But let’s be very clear: hitting the pause button and indirectly allowing our planet to breathe should never ever have come at the cost of some of us having to gasp for air.
While I’ve always known that flying needed to be limited in order to reduce emissions, I stupidly assumed that we would have time to adjust, to establish greener alternatives, retrain and learn new skills. The threatened collapse of certain airlines and the potential loss of thousands of jobs, along with a knock effect on other industries fills me with horror.
With events spinning out of our control (along with my levels of anxiety), it is important to know that some things are under our control, such as following to the letter the advice we are being given by Santé Publique in France. As a nutritionist, I’m often asked what we can eat to boost our immune system.
In the face of the corona virus, it comes down to three words and one action. Wash.Your.Hands. You can add a fourth word too. Wash.Your.Hands.Frequently.
And yes, while you should already (!) be consuming a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables (for the antioxidants) and lashings of fiber (to support protective bacteria in our guts), hand-washing is more protective than any juice, food or supplement in terms of preventing the spread of disease.
The latest advice from the government is to severely limit social interactions. While this is evolving, the latest updates indicate that all non-essential commerce will be closing, leaving only banks, food shops and pharmacies open for an indefinite period. Borders are being tightened and people are required to stay home unless absolutely necessary.
** For updated information on the COVID-19 situation in France from the Ministère de l’Intérieur, click HERE **
The one thing which gives me a minuscule amount of satisfaction at the moment is the realization that in a time of crisis, people need experts. By experts I mean scientists or medical professionals who are appropriately qualified, experienced and measured in terms of advising governments and committees on medical requirements and containment strategies. If once this pandemic is under control, this means the end of the anti-vaxxer movement and a return to trusting in science and critical analysis and investing in medical care, this will be a hugely positive step for safeguarding public health in the future.
My Twitter feed today was full of images of Italians singing from their balconies. An incredible act of solidarity and I think humanity. We will get through this difficult time together. Kindness is a natural antidote to misery and despair, so anything that we can do to help each other makes us collectively stronger. And, at the risk of sounding twee, I’m going to add that smiles are also infectious, an easy way to lift the spirits and make both the smiler and the “smilee” feel better.
If you have days, like Winston Churchill when there is a black dog on your shoulders and you feel completely overwhelmed and utterly bleak, I’m coming to share some advice I was given which helped me a lot at the time and has become even more relevant with age.
“Life, events and feelings are in constant motion. They move on and you will too. You will not always be feeling as sad as you are now. Things always change. It will get easier. You will cope and you will be able move on. This is life.”
One day, very soon I hope, there will be good news.