During the last couple of months, the entire world has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the spread of the virus, our economy and general way of living has changed dramatically. Along with the worldwide spread of the virus comes a fear of what is in store for our future, our communities and livelihoods. A fear of getting ill, being isolated for long periods of time, or losing money during the upcoming recession. While 100% valid, these fears (hello stress and anxiety!) can and do have a negative effect on our minds and therefore, on our bodies (or vise versa). To stay healthy during the outbreak of the virus, it is important to work on having a positive mindset and strengthen your immune system. Below are a few tips to help you do that!
Take a break from the news
Most of us have the news running in the background on our TV’s from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. Try taking a break and watching a new series on Netflix or rewatch something funny (Friends anyone?), take up a new hobby, or read a book.
Keep a routine
Routine is always important, however, right now it is crucial to your well being to keep a semblance of routine or even create a new one. As Maria Popova, founder of Brain Pickings writes, though very different in practice, routine and ritual seem to be two sides of the same coin: “While routine aims to make the chaos of everyday life more containable and controllable, ritual aims to imbue the mundane with an element of the magical. The structure of routine comforts us, and the specialness of ritual vitalizes us.”
Facetime with your friends and family
Whether it’s Facetime, Zoom, Skype, whatever works best for you, have a few face to face conversations a day. As human beings we are wired to need support and interaction with others. Try doing something unique and fun like a virtual happy hour with your friends!
The connection between diet and emotions stems from the close relationship between your brain and your gastrointestinal tract, often called the “second brain.” While it wont cure the stress, it will have an impact on your overall state of being. Blunt way of putting it: Eat crap, feel like crap. Eat healthy and you will feel your mind and body thanking you by feeling healthier!
Get outside and get moving
By now, we all know the benefits of getting outside and going for a walk or exercising (vitamin D from some sunlight on sunny days is an added bonus!). There is immense research on the benefits, including this article from Science Daily that notes the finding on being outside reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. Time Magazine wrote an article on how getting outside improves your mental health and how exercising outside is a double whammy of greatness too.
This is a tough time for everyone in the world and we do our best to get through each day. I know on the days I struggle, doing these 5 simple things, or even 1 of them, helps me keep my sanity. Remember, we are all in this together.