With the COVID-19 pandemic fully upon us, many people are starting to feel the effects of these uncertain times. There is a good chance that your typical routine has taken a complete 180 over the last several weeks, and these changes are never easy to deal with. Add the isolation factor to our change in routine and it’s easy to see why people may be struggling to stay physically and mentally healthy. How can I keep happy and healthy if I can barely leave my own home? Below are a few tips to consider in maintaining our overall health during these times.
Get some fresh air every day - This can be as simple as taking a minute to sit in your backyard or standing on the balcony of your apartment and taking in the scenes. Be in the moment. Really try and focus on how nice the fresh air feels and how it is helping to energize your mind and body. Feel the sunshine on your face and the nice breeze on your arms. Take a second to look at your surroundings – pay attention to the things we may ignore during busier times. Maybe it’s the buds growing on the trees, the sound of the birds singing, or the blooming of spring time flowers. Try to rid your mind of distractions and really take things in with a few good breaths. You’d be surprised how energizing a quick step outside can be.
Stay Productive - If you are off of work at this time, keeping structure in your day may be a challenge you are facing. It may feel as though each day just blends into the next. Try to do something productive each day. We all crave a sense of purpose and accomplishment and that can be seriously lacking when something like work is taken away from us. Take on those tasks that have forever been on the infamous “To Do List”. Schedule a day to do a good clean of the house. Maybe your gardens and yard need some tending to after the long winter. By doing something productive and seeing a concrete result, you are doing something self-fulfilling and are really doing some good in boosting your spirits and confidence levels.
Keep physically active - With gyms, recreation centres, and sports fields closed for the foreseeable future, a lot of people are struggling to stay active during isolation. Our lack of activity undeniably has an impact on our moods and mental health. Take time every day to do something physical. Start your day with some stretches or maybe a few Yoga poses. Walk the stairs in your home for some cardio. Go back to the basics with some push-ups, sit-ups, or squats. Remember that it is still okay to go for walks outside, just ensure you are adhering to social distancing guidelines by staying 2 metres away from others. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands!
Keep in touch - One positive I have noticed during these strange times is the connections I am making with friends and loved ones. People I haven’t touched base with in months are reaching out, and my wife and I find ourselves doing the same. Human interaction is big for our mental health. We are all social beings so take some time to call a friend, have a video chat with your family, or send that “Hope all is well” text. Reaching out and connecting can do a lot of good during times like these.
Give yourself a break - Be fair to yourself. With everything that is going on, can we really expect to be firing on all cylinders 100% of the time? Of course not. There’s a very good chance these last few weeks have been some of the strangest of your life. You may have over indulged to some degree…pigging out on some tasty treats, drinking more than usual, and maybe spending a bit too much time in front of the TV – remember that you are not alone in this. You will eventually find a routine that works, just don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself a bit off track. Staying healthy and active is a challenge regardless of what life throws at us…take a step back and embrace the learning experience.