February 9, 2021
COVID-19 has affected so many people in many ways. There is so much happening in the world right now that is out of our control. There has been worry about contracting the virus, trying to stay safe, worrying about our family and friends and trying to follow the ever-changing protocols. People’s stress levels are high, and our mental health is suffering. While there is a lot that is out of our control, there are some basic things that we can do to manage both our physical and mental health. Here is a list of five simple ways we can take care of ourselves during COVID-19.
5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During COVID-19
Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
Eating highly processed foods can leave us feeling tired, lethargic and can make us feel ill. Not only does eating a diet of nutrient-dense foods give us more of the energy, vitamins, and minerals our bodies need, but it also affects our psychological health.
You will be amazed at how much better you can feel by eating a more healthful diet. You don’t have to change everything at once. Start slowly and make manageable changes that you can stick with. We will get into more details in future posts about this but for now, think about eating more whole grains instead of processed (brown vs. white), eat lean protein, and have lots of vegetables and a little fruit as well. Try to eat home-cooked meals as much as possible instead of a restaurant or frozen meals which are often heavy in salt.
Exercise is amazing for lifting your mood! Whether it’s lifting weights, jogging, walking, or doing an exercise video on YouTube (I love doing dance videos and step aerobics!), you will feel so much better if you add consistent exercise into your routine.
If you haven’t been exercising, check with your doctor, and start slowly, maybe just a walk around the block to start off with if you can.
Practice Stress Reduction Techniques
Along with exercise, which is great at reducing stress, there are other techniques you can use to further reduce stress. Some examples are: a hot bath, reading a book, yoga, meditation, reading in a quiet spot, or just being outside. There are apps that you can use to help you meditate or for deep breathing exercises. What works for one person may not work for the next, so the key is finding something that you enjoy doing and that relaxes you. Keep experimenting until you find the right thing…and then do it consistently.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is so important for keeping your body running at peak performance and so many people are just not drinking enough of it. Water is needed to keep both your body and brain hydrated and just by not drinking enough water, you are putting additional stress on your organs. Just the act of drinking a nice glass of water can have a calming effect. Try adding sliced cucumber or lemon to your water if you don’t like it plain.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Giving your body enough rest is key in mood stabilization and stress reduction. It may be hard to sleep when you are already feeling stressed which turns into a continuous circle of stress, no sleep, stress…you get the picture. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Some tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Turn off all electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime (longer if possible).
- Keep your room as dark as possible. If there is a lot of light from outside where you live, consider getting blackout or heavier curtains. Look around your room for sources of light and try to eliminate them.
- Sleep in a cool room.
- If you are a person who wakes up during the night because of worry or stress, consider doing a “thought dump” into a journal before you go to bed. Just write out everything that is on your mind…no matter what it is…get it all out. If you don’t want to keep a journal, consider just writing on a piece of paper and then throwing it away the next day.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful!