Maintaining Your Mental & Physical Health During COVID-19
2020 wasn’t a typical year. For many, the pandemic caused increased stress and feelings of isolation. With so much unknown in the world right now, it's essential to focus on the things you can control, such as taking care of yourself. Here are four tips to help maintain your mental and physical health during the global pandemic:
1. Create A Schedule
Working from home is the new normal for many, but being home all day has its own challenges. By creating a schedule for yourself and sticking to it, you can achieve a more sustainable work-life balance. Set a time to get up in the morning and create a morning routine such as making the bed, changing out of pajamas, and preparing for your workday.
Two more easy changes are blocking out time for lunch and setting a hard stop to end your workday. This will force you to take a moment away from your screen(s) and not work late into the evening. Don’t forget to make yourself a delicious lunch and spend some time decompressing from a crazy work schedule! Looking for healthy snacks? Check out our ideas for snacking smart at home.
2. Move Your Body
With gyms closed and no commute, many people aren't moving as much as they used to. However, being active is more important than you think. Having a sedentary lifestyle is not just bad for your waistline, but sitting for long periods of time is correlated with the weakening of the brain in areas associated with memory and increased risk for cancer and diabetes. Taking time every day to move your body is more important than ever!
Here are a few ideas of how to stay active:
- Make your morning commute a walk around the block. If you're not a morning person or it's too cold at 7 A.M., try a walk around the block at lunch or after your workday.
- Try an at-home workout program from your favorite studio or app. You can also follow along with workouts posted or streamed on social media!
- Grab your parents, significant other, roommates, or kids and take a socially distanced walk or bike ride.
- Give yourself a goal, such as beating your 5k time or doing yoga 5 days a week, and make a plan to achieve it.
- Turn household chores into a workout, such as washing the car or cleaning out the garage. You’ll get the health benefits and cross something off your to-do list!
Often, we don't give sleep enough credit. When you're asleep, your body has time to heal and repair your blood vessels and heart, and fight infections. Working in front of a screen has a negative impact on your sleep. The blue light from your computer, phone, and TV restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle makes it harder to fall asleep. Having the self-will to shut off electronics 45 minutes to an hour before bed will not only give your eyes a break but will help your body prepare for a good night's rest.
Your body likes routines, and when it comes to sleep and waking up, a set schedule makes a world of a difference. Take time to learn how many hours you need in order to feel highly functional the next day and make sure you're hitting that amount. You got this!
4. Safely Connect With Friends & Family
After 10 months of sheltering in place and scaling back our social activities to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it’s natural to miss your loved ones. Remember that you're not alone; instead, pick up the phone and call someone you miss!
There are endless ways to stay connected with technology:
- Plan Zoom or Facetime "hangouts" every week for your friends and family
- Host a virtual game night! Scattergories, trivia, Pictionary, and Heads Up all work well over Zoom.
- Start a book club with a few friends, where you meet once a month to discuss the book and catch up.
There are also opportunities to catch up in-person while following social distancing guidelines. If you feel comfortable enough, try a socially distanced walk or hike, or even an outdoor picnic. Just don’t forget your mask! These activities will help you feel connected to your friends and benefit each relationship.
Taking the time to focus on your physical and mental health will not only make you feel more connected but, will better yourself in the long term. Don’t be afraid to try something new or pick up an old passion or binge-watch a new show on Netflix! The most important thing is finding joy in your everyday life.