Ways to enhance your wellness while self-isolating

Ways to enhance your wellness while self-isolating

When our minds are consumed by the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on our health, loved ones, town, country, economy and future — not to mention an abrupt transition to life at home, e-working, e-training, and homeschooling — how do we maintain our own mental health and well-being?

Here are some things that we’ve been doing:

  1. Reconnect at the dinner table - with everyone’s on the go lifestyle the thing that seems to get neglected is the family dinner.  So many studies have reported that families who sit down together for a home cooked meal on a regular basis are overall healthier.  It’s also a great time to get some connection with everyone cooped up doing their distance learning or working. If you have older kids, you can have them take on the job of cooking a meal during the week.  This is a great way for them to learn some skills that will stick with them well beyond this month’s school work! 

  2. Repurpose your daily commute time to an outdoor walk - This was time that was already assigned, instead of adding more screen time, take the time of day that you would normally be commuting and go for a walk!  While physical activity does wonders for you wellness, Vitamin D also has strong links to immunity.

  3. Set hard limits on your access to daily news - Yes, we all want to stay informed but at the same time, it’s important to know that the only news that is worthy is the news that sells.  Studies prove again and again that good stories just don’t sell as well as mayhem and destruction. Limit your time to watch the news, change the channel after you get the jist (or even better turn the darn thing off) or stick to less inflammatory news outlets.  My news of choice for the last 2 years has been a handful of really great podcasts.

  4. Find new ways to stay connected - Not all of us are fortunate to have someone with us during this time, recognize who these people are in your life and make an effort to connect with them.  Group texts, zoom sessions, google Duo, or facetime seem to be what most people are using. Connect with people where you can see them and they can see you.  If they don’t have access, send videos via email or post an unlisted video on youtube and send them the link. You can also go super old fashioned and send a letter via snail mail.   Human connection is essential for emotional wellness and while social media is a wonderful distraction, it doesn’t seem to be enough for maintaining that feeling of connection.

  5. Create your new routine,  STAT -  Routines have been thrown out the window and that creates a vortex of chaos from which it is hard to regain order.  While your routine is going to be different, figure out a new one as fast as possible. Don’t worry about making it perfect, it can be modified later on as you find better ways to get organized, but version 1.0 is ALWAYS better than version zero. 

  6. Take screen breaks or create screen time limits - While the digital age is helping companies (like ours) stay afloat during our efforts to minimize the impact of the virus, it is also important to break away from the screens.   We already know from a public health standpoint that excess screen time coupled with physical inactivity leads to significant long term health risks. Be sure to find ways to get away from screens for chunks of time during the day and remember that one bout of vigorous exercise followed by a day in front of the computer, ipad/phone, and or tv does NOT negate the negative effects.  You need to be moving throughout the day in addition to your regular exercise.

  7. Figure out ways to give back -  You’ve got so much to offer – and finding ways to give back is a great way to combat not only anxiety but also depression.  Get creative and think about ways you can give your time, skills and knowledge to help others. If you are healthy and able, the blood banks need donations.  If you know how to sew, the hospitals are asking for handmade masks for the patients so the more protective masks can be saved for the doctors. If you have more free time, there are senior facilities on lockdown who would love notes and possibly some other forms of communication.  If you have a skill, there are plenty of parents who would love an hour break from trying to manage school work and their career. 

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