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What's in your COVID Toolkit?

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

COVID wellness toolkit

Imagine starting 2021 with valuable tools to help your physical body and immune system feel strong, healthy, and resilient

As the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in January, Los Angeles County was proclaimed to be “the most infected county of the most infected state in the most infected country in the world." In recent weeks, vaccine distribution has begun and thankfully the number of hospitalizations and deaths in Los Angeles has slowly fallen. This is promising, but the uncertain long-term impact of the coronavirus variants remains troubling. And nationwide, the United States has now suffered an unfathomable number of coronavirus deaths – approximately 490,000 people thus far – with our medical systems and courageous health care professionals stretched thin and still working under significant, prolonged duress.

How can we cope with pandemic fatigue and overwhelm?

When the disturbing news is ongoing and we feel overwhelmed, burdened with pandemic fatigue, ready for it all to be over and for things to go back to normal, what can we do? First, we can acknowledge the many challenges, disruptions, and losses over this past year. This entire experience is just plain hard.

Following that, I like to remember the wise words of long-time mindfulness meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg: we can always begin again. According to Sharon, the challenge of practicing mindfulness mirrors life’s challenges. In mindfulness, when we notice our minds inevitably wandering or spinning again and again, each time we can gently, without judgment, bring our focus back to the breath and back to the present moment. In doing so,

we see that no matter what, we can always begin again…That’s the fractal moment:

practicing letting go and beginning again in that micro setting is the replica of having

flubbed something at work and needing to begin again, or having strayed from our

deepest aspiration or chosen course and having to begin again, or finding that we have

fallen down and needing to stand up and begin again. There is joy and an important

sense of renewal in each effort to begin again (Sharon Salzberg).

Begin again, by nurturing our physical health and resilience

Quote Begin Again Sharon Salzberg

What does beginning again look like almost one year into a pandemic? What it means for me right now is remembering to slow down and literally taking a deep breath. This momentary pause helps me reset, begin to wrap my head around the fact that this pandemic is still happening, and gather up the energy to dig deeper and begin again. There are many ways to start anew, but one key way to begin again during COVID is to fully nurture our physical health and resilience, as that serves as a foundation for our overall wellness. Beginning again also helps us feel empowered and helps us regain some sense of control by remembering that without question there are some things we can do ourselves, while safely at home, to keep our immune systems strong, our bodies resilient, and our respiratory systems in powerful working order.

For starters, physical movement is the cornerstone of wellness. My exercise pillars are settling into an at-home Yoga with Adriene session and taking a walk with my dog just about every day. Walking also brings me outdoors into the beautiful sun and allows me time with my spouse and our shepherd to start the day. I also have good intentions of adding a brief low-impact aerobic workout to the mix. (Note to self: Remember to start low-impact aerobic workouts!) For other people, movement could be dancing to music, bike riding, tai chi, or a few extra trips up and down the stairs. Anything that feels good to you.

A favorite tool to support a strong and healthy immune system

In additional to daily physical movement, one of my go-to tools for a healthy body and resilient immune system is an easy-to-listen-to guided imagery audio program to Support a Healthy Immune System from psychotherapist Belleruth Naparstek of Health Journeys. What is guided imagery? It's a "gentle but powerful mind-body technique that focuses the imagination in proactive, positive ways." Just sit back and listen to the words and the music, which guide you through a journey that supports the protector cells in your body and strengthens your immune response with healing images and ideas. Or listen to the affirmations, which are soothing and inspiring (e.g., I can see and feel radiant sunlight entering and warming my body, infusing health and strength and healing into every corner of my being). By now the research on guided imagery is significant: "Make no mistake: there are studies going way back that show that imagining heightened immune cell activity actually produces heightened immune cell activity – certainly in the short term (as in up to an hour after a session) and in some studies, way beyond that" (Belleruth Naparstek). For over 20 years, Belleruth has partnered with hospitals, universities, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to incorporate her user-friendly, evidence-based wellness practices into individual and community physical and mental health programs.

What’s in your COVID Wellness Toolkit?

Health Journeys' immune system guided imagery is one of my favorite immune support tools in my personal COVID Wellness Toolkit. What's in yours? I invite you to assemble your own toolkit to help you feel strong and healthy. Maybe you already have one. Maybe you have some tools that are tried-and-true, or some that you once used but forgot about. What's important is finding the right tools that work for you, that you feel good about, and can come back to again and again to serve as a foundation for helping you feel healthy, resilient, and well prepared to fight off any illness that may come your way.

Pandemic silver lining? We have the amazing potential to learn tools of resilience and experience post-traumatic growth

I believe in the potential for what psychologists call post-traumatic growth. I believe that after we've grieved the losses, perhaps even hit bottom, that we have the potential to find enhanced personal strength and resources not despite our pandemic distress and disruption, but because of it. I believe that in the face of adversity and those inevitable struggles in our lives that we do not necessarily like or want -- that still there is the possibility to be transformed for the better. And that we always have the potential to begin again. In the current context of COVID and our physical health, perhaps we can take this opportunity to make our physical health a priority, keep ourselves safe and strong and out of hospitals as much as possible, and discover our own vital tools for immune strength and physical resilience. May we use this pandemic to find a trusted set of foundational tools that can play a pivotal role in our physical health and wellness. Imagine exploring and finding a life-long health toolkit that we can draw upon anytime, that can nourish us, not only during the pandemic but well beyond.


Do you have any favorite COVID health and wellness tools that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about them at


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