(photo credit: CNN.com)
I started the day in the usual way – coffee, cereal, and a check of both the local and the national news. Starting with CNN, I noticed an article by Van Jones, a well-known social justice advocate who focuses on the rights of African Americans. The title caught my eye: “I’m someone Covid-19 could easily kill. Here is what I’m doing about it.”
In his opinion article, he went over the reasons black Americans are suffering more during the pandemic. I had heard these reasonings many times. But about halfway through the article, he shifted from talking about how people are being victimized, to what they can do about it. Here’s what Van Jones said:
“That said: we must also take more responsibility for our own health. And boosting our immune health must be job number one. The science makes clear that our lifestyle choices — around sleep, nutrition, stress, and more — directly affect our ability to strengthen our immune system.And at a time when the virus is doing disproportionate damage to our communities, we need to ask: what can we do as individuals to get ourselves and our loved ones out of harm’s way?
“For example, we can all vow to eat healthier. Drink more water. Move our bodies. Process emotional pain through therapy, rather than comfort eating or substance abuse. Commit to a spiritual or religious practice. Meditate. Rest. Get more sleep. And let’s not forget to practice gratitude. In the midst of this plague, every unlabored, unaided breath is more precious than ever.”
Then I went on to my local news site, where there were job listings posted. Curious to see who was hiring in the midst of the coronavirus, I click on the link. All but one of the job postings were for food take-out.
6 pizza places
2 donut shops
2 Mexican restaurants
5 Italian restaurants
1 fried chicken place
1 barbeque restaurant
16 general-food restaurants
6 brewery-restaurant combos
1 food truck worker (I thought those were all volunteers)
1 painting company
Our local economy is basically shut down except for food, either in grocery-stores or at take-out restaurants. There are so many pizza shops in our town, and they are all open. That means that a great deal of people are choosing unhealthy food while being confined to home. Add to that the lack of exercise and stress over lost jobs, and people are getting more unhealthy by the day.
Van Jones’ advise on taking responsibility for our health is excellent. If everyone could commit to personally improve their eating habits and activity level, we might get through this epidemic without also having a huge wave of people dropping dead of heart attacks and strokes.