Staying Healthy During COVID – 19 Pandemic
We are all experiencing unexpected changes in our lives due to COVID – 19. Fear of illness or even loss of life for ourselves and our family/friends and concerns about the economic impact of social distancing, especially in the context of such uncertainty can take its toll on our physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Here are a few things to help you maintain your health as you face these challenges:
Eating: Good nutrition is a topic that can be as complicated as you want to make it but following a few simple guidelines can have a significant impact on your overall health. Try to eat whole foods as much as possible and avoid highly processed foods. Include lots of green, leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, and whole grains. Drink lots of water and try to avoid sugary drinks or drinks with artificial sweeteners.
Sleep: This is a great time to develop good sleeping habits. Try to go to bed around the same time each night. Avoid screen-time and caffeinated beverages for a couple of hours before bed. Almost everyone requires 7-8 hours of sleep each night for optimal physical and mental function.
Exercise: In addition to the many health benefits of exercise, regular exercise has been found to boost immune function. Exercise has a positive effect on all body systems (musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, nervous, pulmonary, digestive and endocrine). It has also been shown to improve mental and emotional well-being. This is why it is often said that if we could put exercise in pill form, it would be the single most widely prescribed medicine in the world.
Relationships/Socialization: With social distancing as a new reality, maintaining relationships likely requires the most adaptation on your part. Yet, it is more important than ever that we are reaching out to our family and friends. Think about calling people that are important in your life – reaching out and supporting them. Many have the ability to use Facetime so that you can interact with each other. Group chats by phone or with a platform via computer or device that allows everyone to see each other is a great option.
Spend Time in Nature: This is an opportune time to get outside and appreciate the beauty all around us. Take a walk, bike, hike, or go for a run. Even if you are in a city, fresh air will help you feel better. If you are with a friend or family member, just maintain a good distance.
Stay Positive: Maintaining a positive mental attitude can go a long way in improving the quality of your life. Social distancing has provided a unique opportunity for us to slow down, reflect on life, appreciate what we have, and practice mindfulness. Humans have a instinctual ability to adapt to change. We will all get through this together.
Marcia Spoto PT, DC, OCS