Now, the descent
A little more than 80 years ago, as reported in this 2012 article, one of the most famous global leaders of all time emerged. He became known for saying things like “If you’re going through hell…..keep going” and describing his nation’s strategy as “Never never never give up”. Given the daunting odds they faced at the time, such defiance and resilience-of-spirit seems almost unimaginable. Thankfully our current situation is not one of actual war and thankfully we seem to be making progress. According to leading models, April 10th was the national peak and we are now slowly making our way down the hill and toward a “flat” curve. This of course is excellent news, however, as anyone who has ever trekked to the top of an actual peak knows (and this study shows), the descent, when the body is a little tired already and mental-focus is a little more difficult to muster up, can be even more treacherous than the climb.
So what can we take from Churchill’s leadership style and lessons learned descending actual mountains? What can we take from the latest science regarding the COVID19 crisis and how this virus seems to wage “war” with our biology? How can we cultivate the resilience, both physical and psychological, to get safely down this “mountain” of risk we are facing?
First – understanding its “attack strategy” helps us to launch a counterattack. This week, for our employer clients on QuaranTV I outlined even more ways to counteract the hijacking of immune/inflammation pathway that the coronavirus exploits. The short-short version? Lowering baseline inflammatory load, whether you clear it via exercise, lower it by eating healthy, or reset it by sleeping better, can be a very big deal.
Next – although outright defiance may not be required just yet, resilience is incredibly valuable…..and it can be built. Although primarily targeting healthcare workers, this article does a nice job describing some of the ways that resilience can be cultivated. The short-short version here? Based on her review of the evidence, the author (an expert from Washington state) recommends trying to answer the following 3 questions:
1. What do I/we do when times get hard?
2. Who helps me/us when times get hard?
3. What do I/we want to “be” when this is over? What will it have meant for me/us?
Last – if you’re not sure what to do, double down on moderate exercise. Not only does it have a known anti-inflammatory effect, new commentary (thanks Sean!) points to the fact that production of a specific antioxidant may lower the risk of the most dire outcomes of COVID19. This antioxidant is ramped up during and after exericse……AND…..it improves attention and focus needed to stay healthy as we descend.
We’re not “there” yet……but we’re moving in that direction. Get down the hill safely.