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Community builds immunity, safety and happiness.

Photo by Rinat Halon Neal

Recently, I taught a few immune-supportive classes at The Take Back Your health retreat in North Carolina.

There were 19 women of various ages in attendance: twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties and seventies… plus one baby boy.

All of the attendees braved the warnings and restrictions and ventured out to gather together for a week of health education, great food, and a much-needed break from the worries of the world.

They traveled from Florida, Virginia, Rhode Island, Washington DC, New York, Kansas and other places from around the country.

On day one of the retreat, I shared my personal experience catching Covid 19 early on in the pandemic and naturally healing using foods and herbal remedies that were readily available in my home apothecary and kitchen.

As a natural health practitioner, I shared specific ingredients as well as lifestyle activities, that would be best for these folks to have in their own homes, just in case Covid 19 came knocking at their door as it did mine.

The women sat around the retreat-house living room nestled into cozy couches and comfy chairs attentively listening to my talk and taking notes.

Except for one woman that sat all the way in the back, off to the side, at the dining table about 20 feet away from the rest of us.

During my talk, she grew agitated and became confrontational.

She was highly stressed that I “irresponsibly” had a gathering of 40-50 friends and family who came to grieve, share stories, and show support for my family after my sister committed suicide during the height of the Coronavirus lockdown in New York City.

Some people wore masks to that family gathering, and some did not.

It was a personal choice.

The main thing that triggered her was when I said, “community builds immunity.”

I was referring to the fact that not ONE person who attended that close-knit gathering of friends and family was stricken with Covid-19, including two 80 year-olds.

As I let her vent, she got down to the root of her anger.

It was her own fear and disapproval at one of her family members who was insisting on not canceling their pre-planned wedding during this pandemic that was getting her all riled up.

She said, “I do NOT approve of her getting married at this time. It’s selfish. And, I WILL certainly be wearing a mask and keeping my distance from my relatives.”

After she finished sharing why she believes social distancing and masks should be mandatory, I made it clear to her that she needed to do what she felt was the best option to protect herself and her own health.

There is scientific evidence on both sides of the Covid-19 argument and how it’s being handled by authorities. So, it’s imperative that she trusts her gut and does what makes the most sense for her and her health.

On the second day of the retreat, she wore her mask to the morning exercise class and kept her distance from the rest of the participants who were all mask-less.

On the third day, she seemed more at ease and sat with the group for dinner, classes, and other fun activities, without her mask.

By the fourth and final night, we were all sitting in a group talking about our experience during the week. She sat less than two feet away from the other participants and she looked happy and relaxed. She even laughed a few times, which was nice to see.

Laughter is good medicine.

She seemed much more relaxed than she was on day one, and that’s imperative to supporting healthy immunity.

When the emotional body and mind are under high stress, it’ll deplete your immune system every single time. This is a fact that science on ALL sides agrees with.

Not only that, “According to researchers, people with strong social support have better overall health and are more resistant to infection and disease.”[1]

She spent five days and four nights in a loving and supportive social environment.

Attending the retreat actually boosted her immunity. Like I said, “Community builds immunity.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, she didn’t snuggle up with the rest of us for a group hug of another participant who was having a deeply emotional experience on that final night.

But, she was present to witness the transformation of a human being expressing an emotional release and then being physically held (hugged) and supported by other retreat attendees.

Maybe she will take that loving experience back to her community, along with her now strengthened immunity.

As you too, go through this pandemic, remember to relax as much as possible and spend quality time with your community. It’s good medicine.

[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-the-mind-heals-the-body/201411/how-stress-affects-the-immune-system