Here are some ideas on how to stay healthy in a world of unknown…
- Establish routines
Establishing daily routines is especially helpful with kids at home, but also for those who are now relegated to work from home or retirees who can’t get out.
- Think twice about what you’re putting in your mouth – and why
While many of us are stressed beyond our limits, overeating can have a temporary calming effect. Temporary is the key word. Without managing your eating habits during times of stress, you’re more likely to put on unwanted weight.
Most important, is the impact nutritious foods can have on your sleep, mood, energy level and immune system. Incorporate whole foods and colorful fruits and vegetables and avoid sugary foods as much as possible. Don’t overindulge in unhealthy self-soothing. Wine, candy, chips, soda. All are fine in moderation. When humans are under stress (including isolation) we go into self-soothing strategies. Self-soothing strategies are ways that we calm ourselves down when under stress. Many of us self-soothe with alcohol or junk food. Though alcohol or junk food may help your mental health in the short term, it will affect your physical health, and therefore your body’s resistance to infection. Limit drinking and consumption of sugary or processed foods.
- Maintain your sleep routine.
Whether a healthcare worker or a 9-5er who suddenly has very little structure, sleep is going to be essential in keeping you healthy in the face of COVID-19. Make sure you’re practicing good sleep hygiene, keeping your sleeping environment cool, dark, and quiet. Limit blue spectrum light before bed with special glasses or programs like Nightshift on Macs, iPhones and iPads, and smartphones.
- Ramp up your fluid intake
Now more than ever, Ryskamp advises drinking plenty of fluids to help keep your body hydrated and to flush out toxins.
Some of the best (and least expensive) choices are water, green tea with ginger or turmeric, clear soups and broths.
If you experience a fever, water enhanced with electrolytes, like low-sugar sports drinks or Pedialyte, are recommended.
- Get sun.
Vitamin D is important in the immune response. Getting sun will increase your vitamin D reserves. Opening shades and windows, sitting in sunny areas of your apartment, and even getting outside when social distancing is possible (maintaining 6+ feet between yourself and others).
- Reach out for emotional support.
Schedule virtual happy hours, brunches, and hangouts with friends. Schedule a virtual therapy session if isolation is beginning to wear on you.
- Move your body.
Getting plenty of exercise during these shelter-in-place days is vitally important — no matter what your age.
Exercise can help boost physical, mental and emotional health and can help reduce stress, which can take a toll on our immune systems. If you can, check out online exercise and yoga classes geared toward kids and adults. Just 30 minutes a day of walking, running, exercise at all; can boost your metabolism!