In this post, we want to show you how you can use 360 to help you look after your health through the COVID-19 pandemic. The cumulative effect of stress, uncertainty and exposure to the virus is having a significant impact on the population. Even with a successful vaccine, there will be a need to look after our immune resilience and take proactive steps to look after personal wellbeing. With 360, you have the unique ability to measure, learn and improve your health. This post will outline how to do so in the context of COVID-19.

360 Markers & COVID-19

360 measures your subjective and objective wellbeing. Both can be valuable in supporting you through the pandemic and into the future. Let’s have a look at each in turn.

Subjective Wellness Markers

As you are about to learn, the physiological measurements that you get from 360 can be powerful in successfully navigating COVID-19, but so too can your subjective data. Each day you have the opportunity to self-rate your sleep, energy, diet, exercise and happiness. You also have the chance to add tags each day, pinpointing specific lifestyle factors that are involved in the regulation of your health.

The subjective trends screen can be very helpful in managing your health. The bar graph shows your daily score (white line) compared to your average score over time (green bar). It is worth taking ten seconds to look at your strengths and gaps here to see what area you might want to prioritise to look after your immune resilience.

For example, nutrition is central to optimising immune function. Our innate and adaptive immune system needs sufficient nutrients to function correctly and in a balanced way. Diet also has a significant effect on the integrity of the gastrointestinal lining, which is where up to roughly 75% of immune-sensing cells reside. If we disrupt the lining of the gut through too much saturated fat, processed foods and alcohol, we are more at risk of immune dysfunction, and with it the effects of COVID-19.

How does this relate to 360? Well, the science of immune regulation is complicated, but the application for us is easy. If on the subjective wellness trends screen, you notice that diet is scoring low compared to other areas of your wellbeing, make it a priority and proactively support your immunity. 

Tags can also be powerful in helping you look after your lifestyle and support immune resilience. For example, if you notice on the subjective trends screen that “stress” is your top-rated tag, treat it as useful feedback. 

Chronic low-grade stress is has a pro-inflammatory effect on the body. It depletes the ability of the immune system to mount a balanced, robust and effective response to bacteria and viruses. 

A recent review looked at the links between mental and emotional resilience and immunity. The researchers authoring the paper found a bi-directional relationship. In other words, there was a top-down influence of the brain impacting immunity and a bottoms-up impact of immunity impacting the brain.

The researchers went on to explain that “exposure to recent and chronic stressful life events has repeatedly been shown to increase an individual’s risk of developing clinical illness following inoculation with the challenge virus.”

In the case of COVID-19, constant mental and emotional stress, therefore, makes us more vulnerable from an immune perspective, should we become infected. That is, unless, we take proactive control. 

This is why 360 is valuable. It helps because by becoming aware of the dominant factors in your lifestyle, you can take control of them. You cannot change what you are not aware of. 360 surfaces these habits and behaviours so you can nudge them in the right direction.

In the case of stress, you might find new approaches to manage your mental and emotional stress. This approach might include tools from CBT, using fitness training to look after your mental health, practicing mindfulness, journalling gratitude, connecting with others, or honouring your body’s need for downtime. 

In summary, use the subjective data to be proactive in your self-care. Everything we have built for you in 360 is there to surface insight quickly and easily. 

Objective Wellness Markers

The physiological markers in 360 are remarkably sensitive to immune challenges. You can use this to your advantage with COVID-19, and take early steps to mitigate its effects or protect others.

You tend to see three objective wellness changes if you experience coronavirus infection.

First, you will likely see a sudden and sharp rise in resting heart rate upon waking up and checking-in. This is a normal response to heightened activation of innate immunity, the release of inflammatory cytokines going to the site of infection, and the corresponding ramp of the sympathetic nervous system which helps in all of this. In such a scenario, you would expect your resting heart rate to jump up by at least 20%.

Second, you will likely see a sudden and sharp drop in levels of parasympathetic activity, as indexed by your morning objective wellness score. This too is a normal response to infection. Whilst the body is dealing with immediate needs driven by immune and inflammatory activity, long-term cellular renewal and regenerative processes are naturally inhibited and therefore parasympathetic tone decreases significantly.

Third, you will see your PNS fluctuation percentage increase. This is simply a result of sudden large changes in your objective wellness.

Often, these changes in your scores can happen prior to any major symptoms.

This is a sign that your first lines of immune defence have been mobilised, and are getting to work to kill the virus. Now, this might not be COVID-19 but another type of virus, but either way it is helpful. You are getting an early warning indicator which you will want to follow up on.

– Reach out to the relevant healthcare channels to ensure you get the support you need

– If you were meant to go to work, this would be a good day to stay at home to protect others

– Even if you do not have symptoms, avoid heavy exercise in such a scenario to ensure you do not compromise immunity

– Make sure you hydrate and eat a nutrient-dense, whole food diet that day to support immune resilience

– Optimise vitamin D status. Whilst there are many supplements that can help, vitamin D appears to be a clear winner based on the current incoming clinical research.

If you get a diagnosis of COVID-19, please use the SARS-CoV-2 tag in the Journal to note the day it happened. Just tag it once and on that day. This will help you keep a record of events and track your recovery afterwards. 360 will be a powerful partner in your journey back to full health by giving you insight and helping you understand when you are adapting well and can push, and when you are driving systems too hard and need to prioritise regeneration. Enjoy!

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