Mary Kreider is a founding member and the Integrative Health Director of an in-house Wellness Program at CooperRiis. The Wellness Program offers a whole-person approach to recovery. We ask her for her redemptive view on the COVID Pandemic:
We have become so isolated as a result of COVID. As the Integrative Health Director at CooperRiis Healing Community I have learned how important community support is to our mental health. The question is how do you stay mentally healthy while you are protecting your physical health in isolation?
There is so much that needs to be done in creating community support in the virtual world. We need to find some interactive way to be with others. When we are stuck at home and don’t have the benefit of being in a community like CooperRiia (as member of a recovery team) and we suffer with a mental health condition, we must find a community of people to bond with and share how we are doing. Quarantine is simply not good for people with or without mental health.
I think that that is the big lesson and a big piece of the puzzle that is lacking in terms of the whole COVID response. When we don’t have emotional and mental health support, when we are depressed and filled with anxiety the inflammatory response goes up and the immune system down. And of course the gut and definitely the brain suffer. This virus attacks people with a suppressed immune system and compromised physical health. In fact, interacting with others is supportive to our immune system and lowers anxiety and depression.
It is even worse when people in isolation do not take good care of themselves by not exercising, by eating poorly, and by not focusing on important self-care habits to supports their immune system.
Supporting our immune system while in isolation from others is key. The ability to contact and connect with people virtually, to have a robust support network set up where patients and staff are able to interface with others, is most critical.
That is why I loved the community that I worked for because it is the community that actually helps people to stay safe and healthy. There has been an extensive public effort to connect to people who must quarantine. Together we've created this vital, life affirming, loving community support.
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