It’s tempting to fall into bad coping habits when you are stressed. But now is the time to focus on activities that will help improve your health and wellness. Self-care is not about letting yourself constantly indulge in your favorite vices. In the long run, a diet of ice cream and wine while binge watching TV will not make you feel better. Your body and brain need nutrients and daily activity to stay healthy. Did you know mental stress can take a physical toll on your immune system? When you are stressed, cortisol levels (a primary stress hormone) rise in your body and your brain switches into fight or flight mode. When your fight or flight response is triggered, your body reverts all energy towards immediate survival and less energy toward digestion, healing and your immune system. It’s important to avoid chronic stress and keep your mind as calm as possible. The more you can do to keep your body moving and your mind calm, the better you’ll be able maintain positive mental health and physical wellness during isolation.
Make your home a supportive environment for developing healthy habits. The more your family is able to say positive, calm and fit, the better you will be able to maintain mental and physical health. The easier an activity is to do, the more likely you will successfully build a new habit. Focus on making it as easy as possible to make healthy choices while at home. If you are working from home or have kids keeping up their school work, set timed blocks on certain websites and social media. Take willpower out of the equation and download an app to block social media sites on your phones. Increase your productivity while working or studying at home by blocking distracting websites on your laptop. Setting time or screen limitations on your devices helps you stay productive and concentrate at home.
Create a space in your home designated for home workouts or meditations. Keep your jump rope or weights out, to minimize the effort it takes to start getting your blood pumping. You’re way more likely to press play on a streaming yoga class if your yoga mat is set up and ready to go. Rather than filling your freezer with frozen pizzas, stock your home with healthy food choices. And make staying hydrated easy (and more enjoyable) with a whole house water filtration system, so you can have great tasting drinking water from every sink and shower in your home. Now is the time to take actions to help support your family so you all can stay healthy and nurtured at while at home. Encouraging these healthy habits, will help them last a lifetime.
Staying hydrated is one of the simplest things you can do to help improve your physical and mental health. Water transports nutrients throughout your body, boosts brain function and helps flush out toxins. Water also supports your immune system and helps fill you up so you don’t over snack.
Staying at home does not mean staying sedentary. Moving your body gets the blood flowing and releases endorphins. Endorphins help to relieve stress and anxiety. Do daily stretches, stream an online exercise video, or have a spontaneous dance party to keep your blood pumping!
It’s tempting to let our schedule get out of whack when you can literally roll out of bed to work. Make sure you’re still getting 7-8 hours of sleep. Sleep supports our immune system. When we are sleeping our immune system is able to produce cytokines, which are essential proteins for fighting off infection.
Comfort food can’t comfort you. Not really. Keeping a balanced diet will help your brain and body get all the nutrients it needs to function optimally. You’re under enough stress, the last thing your body needs is to be stressed out by too much sugar, saturated fats and hard to digest foods.
While you are socially distancing physically, it’s still very important to your mental health to connect with family and friends. Make plans to call or video chat with people you love and care about. The dopamine released from connecting helps you relax, puts you in a better head space and can help lower your stress levels.
Even if it’s just sitting outside for a cup of coffee, fresh air calms the mind and gets you vitamin D from the sun. When sunshine hits your skin, it reacts with the cholesterol in your skin to make vitamin D. Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium for strong bones and teeth.
It is more tempting than ever to binge watch TV. Give your eyes a rest and engage your brain by finding other forms of entertainment. Find an activity that does not involve as screen (especially if you’ve been working on your computer all day). Read a book, do a puzzle, write in a journal or try learning a new skill.
Social isolation does not need to mean losing track of your health. Take each day as an opportunity to make life choices that will improve your well-being. Share this advice with friends and family and help spread pockets of positivity even during trying times. We can all get through this together.