• Nora Gallagher


Updated: Mar 20, 2020

On March 24th 2020 I will have officially completed a year long training program to obtain my certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Health Coach (yes, I know what you are thinking, just like Kelly from Love is Blind!). I have spent the last year anxiously awaiting this day all while soaking up all of the new learnings from teachers such as Dr. Andrew Weil, Gabby Bernstein, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Marion Nestle and countless others. It has been an absolutely transformative year, I have learned so much and have met some truly incredible people. I have been so excited for March 24th so I could launch my website and begin sharing some of this new holistic perspective on nutrition and lifestyle management with others. HOW.EV.ER. the Corona Virus (aka Covid-19 for those who haven't been on social media lately) has officially stolen the show. When the initial panic set in I figured I would hold off on launching my business until the scare died down. But, I have come to realize not only is Corona not going away anytime soon BUT I actually may have some tools to help people through this absolute nightmare.

Considering I don't know my audience yet (er, actually have one..) it's hard to know what area to tackle first: anxiety, food prepping, general immunity boosting recommendations, ancient Chinese herbal remedies (may not quite be the time for that), etc. so I'm going to start by addressing my OWN biggest issue right now which is: STRESS and ANXIETY.

As you don't know, because you don't really know me yet, I'm generally pretty even keel. I don't typically overreact to stressful situations and overall I'd like to think I'm pretty good at keeping my shit together (as a side note, I do have TRIPLET 8 year old BOYS who do a pretty good job at testing these limits on a daily basis). With that said, this "pandemic" has absolutely pushed me over the edge. I've had all the feels, done ALL the stockpiling and read everything CNN, NY Post, NY Times, the page, etc. releases. I've been a wreck. But, as an adult, a mother, a community member, a daughter and a wife of a husband traveling in and out of NYC for work, I realized it was time to pull myself together, at least for my family's sake right now. Easier said than done tho, I know. What I also know, is that when we are mentally healthy, we feel a sense of clarity, and confidence and are able to take control. Stress, which can have a major impact on the quality of our mental health, is a major contributor to a person’s psyche and that there is a correlation between chronic stress and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, and gut issues. So what can be done to help manage the stress and anxiety you are probably feeling right now? I have compiled a list of 7 ideas that combine both my own thoughts as well as suggestions from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition on how you can try to keep your stress and anxiety levels down right now:

1. Start a gratitude journal. For as crazy as it is right now, think about how fortunate you are. For example, 9 years ago today I was one month away from delivering three preemies who would need assisted oxygen support for over the first month of their lives. I am grateful that if this outbreak had to happen, it is at least happening now and not 9 years ago. What are you thankful for?

2. Get OUTSIDE. I recently read an article that spoke about what helped during the 1918 Flu Pandemic and it said that outdoor air is a natural disinfectant AND that sunlight is "germicidal and there is now evidence it can kill the flu virus". Also, let's not forget the immense immune boosting benefits that natural vitamin D from the sun can provide!

3. Exercise. As you all probably know, exercise can have a massive positive impact on your overall mental health but what's a girl to do if your gym has closed due to Corona? Easy. LIVE STREAM IT! Yes! I love that it is now SO easy to live stream from your favorite studio. In the Westfield area there are two phenomenal yoga studios that I know of: Home and Brassy Buddha who are both offering live classes. Also, CrossFit 908 is live streaming workings that can be done at home without all of the equipment. Check in with your local gym and see what they are offering during this crazy time. When all else fails, lace up those running shoes, grab the BOB or put some roller blades on your kids and get after it (just remember to stay within 6 feet of your neighbors!).

4. Omega 3's! Omega 3 fatty acids are shown to improve your overall mental health - in addition to a Fish Oil supplement, some great food choices high in Omega 3's are walnuts, flaxseeds and wild salmon.

5. Probiotics and Prebiotics! In Dr. Emeran Mayer's new book "The Mind Gut Connection", he explains how most of your body's serotonin is stored in your gut. If your gut doesn't have enough of the good bacteria it can ultimately lead to a disruption of your overall mental well-being. A daily probiotic is a great start but so are foods rich in live active cultures such as plain yogurt, tempeh, kombucha and sauerkraut (hey, it is almost St. Patty's day!). Also, eating prebiotic rich foods such as, garlic, asparagus, onions, dandelion root, etc., help to feed and sustain the good bacteria living in your gut.

6. Reduce the sugar intake. Along the same lines as point #5, sugar actually feeds the bad bacteria in your gut and ultimately aids in breaking down the mind-gut connection leading to symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Sugar is also very addicting so the more you eat, the more you will crave. Be cognizant of this and try to look for other options with less sugar (someone once told me that tequila has less sugar than wine.. I'm not sure if thats true and certainly not condoning drinking alcohol..but something to look into..)

7. Breathe. When all else fails bring it back to the basics and just breathe. This fall I attended a conference where Dr. Weil share his famous 4-7-8 breathing technique with us and I was hooked. I often use it in stressful situations (like when being quarantined with three 8 year olds for a month) and I find it really helps. The link to his how to video is:

In all seriousness though, I hope everyone out there stays healthy and safe. Just know that it is normal to have an array of emotions right now as we all attempt to navigate these very choppy and uncharted waters and if you need to reach out for additional support, I am here.

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