Dr. Bill’s COVID-19 Update March 24, 2020
The lessons I have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic have made me a healthier person, husband, father, and doctor. By following the preventive-medicine measures in my previous post, here are the lessons for life our family has learned:
8 Lessons for Life
1. Preload Payoff
By keeping our immune systems healthy by the four preloading measures we teach in our Dr. Sears Wellness Institute classes ¬– L.E.A.N. (lifestyle, exercise, attitude, and nutrition) – when a terrorist germ enters your body your immune-system soldiers become rapid-responders, as if saying: “Because you trained us well, we’re already equipped and empowered to fight COVID-19 should you become infected.” Our four healthy keys of immune-boosting eating are: having a multi-nutrient smoothie in the morning, avoiding added sugar, having a salad topped with wild salmon in the evening, and grazing instead of gorging throughout the day. COVID-19 has motivated folks who function as what I call put-offs (I’ve been meaning to…) to just do it, now!
2. Good Night, Good News
A good night’s sleep is so important for a healthy immune system that I recently took a “media-distancing” day. Don’t waste energy worrying. Spend your energy doing something positive. When the COVID-19 news erupted, all doom and gloom, riveted media-watchers felt their stress hormones go up; and as a result, the fighting ability of their immune systems went down – a recipe for getting sick.
3. “My Parents Know Best”
As I’ve said in many of my posts, parenting is giving your children the tools to succeed in life. When you mirror an empowered attitude to your children – “We’re a strong family and a strong country. We can handle this…” and teach them about how to empower their own army inside (also called “natural killer cells”), when this pandemic passes – and it will – your children and grandchildren are most likely to remember the good news of what your family did and how they responded rather than the bad news reflected in all the numbers.
4. Move More, Sit Less
The COVID-19 pandemic got a lot of folks up off the couch. It got us not only to move our minds, but also our bodies – a long-awaited fix for the current epidemic of “the sitting disease.” Learning one simple lesson – “movement mobilizes my immune system” – gives more credibility to Dr. Mom’s wisdom of “go outside and play.” Yes, commercial gyms are closed, but “home gyms” are always open.
5. Solutions to Stressors are Solid
Financial stress. Quick government subsidies to the neediest, such as delaying interest payments and dialing down the fear of eviction from “can’t pay my rent,” show that we really do have a government that is “united” for the common good. The government has proven this is the United States of America. We have a national crisis here and we must stand united – and united we will heal.
Medical stress. Wow, so many companies have moved fast to switch gears from creating luxury wardrobe items to creating medical supplies. Also, a new vaccine, which usually takes years to develop, is projected to be ready much more quickly, perhaps even in months.
6. Social Distancing Becomes Social Connecting
Unlike during previous crises, new technologies enable us to connect with friends and family with one click. I love getting happy calls and texts from our millennial children! It gives me goosebumps as I conclude they’re actually thinking more of Mom and Dad than they are of themselves. Loneliness depresses the immune system; social connecting strengthens it. The daily video of our new grandbaby going from crawling to walking lights up our family life – and our immune systems.
7. Humor Heals
At no other time in my long life have I seen so much healing humor posted on social media. We doctors have long known that laughter is the best medicine. “Grandpa, why are you so cheerful? There is a lot of scary stuff going on out there,” our sixteen-year-old granddaughter recently asked me. Ah, a teachable moment! “Sit down. Let me tell you how to turn bad stuff into good stuff…” She felt relieved and now has a new tool for life in her toolbox for healthy living. My favorite daily humor was a take-off on the word “quarantine.” There’s a projection that the stay-home policy may give us a minor baby boom in nine months. As a result, thirteen years from now the teenagers in the year 2033 will be dubbed “quaranteens.”
Free time at home may be a window of opportunity you’ve never had before. The “stay home” mandate doesn’t mean stay home and stew. Remember our motto: “Sit and stew is bad for you.” Engage in a project you’ve been putting off, build stuff with your kids, play games, solve problems, and strengthen weak relationships. These all lead to another tool for life: peace of mind is an inside job. It’s more about happy thoughts and interactions than store-bought stuff.
For all our readers, health coaches, and friends my message is this health crisis will pass and we will have healthier families and country because of what we learned and what we did.
Dr. Bill’s Lessons Learned and Taught
- Meditate more, agitate less
- Move more, sit less
- Graze more, gorge less
- Nature more, screens less
- Smile more, frown less
- Serve more, expect less
Dr. Sears, or Dr. Bill as his “little patients” call him, has been advising busy parents on how to raise healthier families for over 40 years. He received his medical training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the world’s largest children’s hospital, where he was associate ward chief of the newborn intensive care unit before serving as the chief of pediatrics at Toronto Western Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto. He has served as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and University of California: Irvine. As a father of 8 children, he coached Little League sports for 20 years, and together with his wife Martha has written more than 40 best-selling books and countless articles on nutrition, parenting, and healthy aging. He serves as a health consultant for magazines, TV, radio and other media, and his AskDrSears.com website is one of the most popular health and parenting sites. Dr. Sears has appeared on over 100 television programs, including 20/20, Good Morning America, Oprah, Today, The View, and Dr. Phil, and was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in May 2012. He is noted for his science-made-simple-and-fun approach to family health.