Staying physically healthy (and mentally, too) during the COVID-19 outbreak
The best advice for staying healthy is to eat a balanced diet, get plenty of exercise, and a good night’s sleep. During the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing to follow this simple advice is all that more important when it comes to maintaining your physical as well as your mental well-being.
But, social distancing recommendations and shortages at the grocery stores can complicate things. Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet is tough when the grocery stores are low on or out of fresh fruit and vegetables. Besides that, you’re worried about going out to the store.
Getting your usual workout or exercise class is not possible because the gyms are closed. And, how can you get a good night’s sleep when you’re anxious about what the new day will bring? By following some expert guidelines, the good news is that it’s possible to stay healthy and calm during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Carmen Shanks, associate professor at Montana State University for food, nutrition, and sustainable food systems, the first thing to do is make a plan before going to the store to avoid “panic buying.” Make a list of what you’ve already got in your pantry, and buy what you need to make meals that include a starch, a protein, and some fresh produce. Buy some extra fruit and vegetables, cut them up, and freeze them to use in the weeks to come.
What about exercise?
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, exercise is a good escape from stress as well as a way to strengthen your body and maintain your immune system. Your gym or fitness studio may be closed, but there are a lot of other activities you can do while practicing safe social distancing such as walking, biking, and running. As the weather gets nicer, get outside and start working on your gardening or tackle that spring cleaning you’ve been putting off for so long.
Pilates exercises are a perfect fit if you have to workout at home. Not only does Pilates help to stretch, tone, and strengthen your muscles, but studies have shown that it also helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Many instructors and studios are streaming Pilates, yoga, and other fitness classes that you can take advantage of during this challenging time.
Getting a good night’s sleep
Getting the proper amount of sleep is vital to supporting and maintaining your health and well-being. But, that’s become increasingly difficult for many of us to do because of the stress and anxiety that go hand in hand with living with the coronavirus.
Yoga and mindfulness meditation are great options to use for managing stress and reducing anxiety. Look for studios that are streaming guided classes. Apps like Headspace and Talkspace are good choices for virtual mindfulness training and therapy.
Consider creating a quiet space in your home, free from technology, but with things that are calming such as some scented candles, your favorite music, and something to cuddle, like your dog or cat!
Remember — good mental health goes hand in hand with good physical health. So, take good care of both!