Saturday, April 25, 2020

Covid Consequences: Bad As the Disease?

I'm as sick of blogging about coronavirus as you are of reading about it.  But with no foreseeable end in sight, it's hard to imagine a future without it.  So this time I'll shift to the other concurrent epidemics ravaging our nation as a result of the virus.  Sound like fun?  No?  Okay.

Overeating...and Drinking

Stop the quarantine binge eating!

As much as people joke about how much they're day-drinking & overeating in quarantine, it's bound to become a serious problem for many.  Indeed, sales of salty snacks & alcohol have gone through the roof since lockdown started.  In a country where obesity & its resulting health problems are already a major problem, this is no bueno.  Fortunately there are things you can do right now to offset & reverse any weight gain you've experienced during this stressful time.  I've already written about the most basic, simple (not necessarily easy) & scientifically sound way of losing weight & keeping it off:  the CICO method.  So check that out.  It requires zero exercise, though I'd recommend it if you're serious about increasing your actual fitness--a good idea given the pulmonary & cardiovascular effects of Covid.  You don't need to give up any of the major food groups or macronutrients like carbs, fats or protein either, which means it's sustainable for the long-term like a healthy diet should be.  (CICO is the "secret" behind a number of fad diets like keto & Weight Watchers--they just achieve the same end through different means).

Alcoholism is no joke.  There are other options.

If boozing has crept in during quarantine, there are safer & healthier alternatives for that too.  Supplements like kratom, kava & phenibut when used in moderation can be a safer option to increase GABA activity in the brain & reduce stress in much the same way as alcohol (but without the cancer risk & toxicity of ethanol).  Mindfulness meditation is another thing we can all incorporate into our lives due to its safety profile & easy learning curve.  Here's a good starter article on that too.  A few benefits include increased focus, reduced anxiety & better ability to stay in the present moment.  (As they say, the depressed dwell in the past while the anxious worry about the future.  Those who are truly content live in the present).

Making the Personal Political

Some "epidemics" like domestic abuse, xenophobia, poverty & hunger that are growing out of the pandemic must be dealt with on a societal level.  However, they start at home with the individual.  You can always write your local or state representative & demand action on these issues.  While the government has consistently voted to bail out corporations, they've given working people only a meager $1,200 relief check--one which many of us still haven't even received yet.  Requesting Universal Basic Income for the duration of the pandemic (or maybe permanently) is a great use of your time right now.  Much more sensible than demanding to go back to work prematurely & risk your life.

Meanwhile, we've got mayors & governors saying "there are more important things than living" (Texas) and offering up their cities to be sacrificial "control groups" (Las Vegas) in giant imaginary studies where thousands will inevitably die for the Dow.  Landlords are abusing their power locally all over the country, attempting to coerce tenants into sex or evict them illegally.  Now is the time to channel your frustration & fear into organizing & fighting back.  Not on Facebook or Twitter but in petitions, letters to your representative, to the editor of your city's newspaper & in other ways that count.  Knock on doors at your apartment building & ask if anyone else is behind on rent & organize a rent strike.  (If it's a safe neighborhood, of course).

Big things are possible when we come together.

Donate blood or plasma at a local blood bank, or give a few dollars to one of the WHO-approved charities listed on their official website.  By making yourself useful, you reduce the anxiety that festers when you feel helpless.  Helplessness leads to hopelessness, aka depression.  Nobody wants that.  Most importantly, your voice matters & we need it now more than ever.

(By no means am I implying with the title of this article that the lockdown is responsible for more problems than the virus itself.  But it must be tempered with humane policies like relief payments, rent freezes, healthcare access & other social safety nets or it's not enough). 

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