- Nicole Bleak
Surviving Quarantine 2020
Wow! This is really something isn’t it. I bounce between feeling doom and gloom and laughing with my teenagers at the endless "quarantine" meme’s and videos that surface every 1.3 seconds.
Even just a few days in, I’ve discovered there are some important things to include in my daily routine. What routine? While it’s been nice to slow down, let my body sleep as long as it needs and enjoy the extra down time; I’ve realized I feel much better if I stick to some sort of schedule or "order of events" to make sure a few key components are all included in my day.
EXERCISE: Folks this isn’t about how you’ll look on the beach this summer (will we ever get there?) Right now regular physical activity and maintaining fitness is essential for 3 main reasons:
1. Exercise helps keep our immune system strong. We are hearing about cases involving healthy people contracting COVID-19 who experience only mild symptoms or none at all. A strong body and immune system will help you face whatever comes your way. Once this quarantine is over, even contracting a mild cold will likely require you stay home again to prevent the spread of anything cold or flu-like.
Do the home workouts we post, they are short and you surely have time. Then sprinkle in additional activity throughout your day when possible: walk or jog outside, run up and down the stairs, 25 air squats before each meal, 10 push-ups every hour...
2- Exercise helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression. We’ve all experienced exercise endorphins and agree we always feel better physically and mentally elevating the heart rate, getting the blood pumping and breaking a sweat.
3- Exercise helps us sleep better. Wondering what tomorrow may bring may result in difficultly falling or staying asleep. Exercising helps us rest better at night. It’s been shown that sleep deprivation leads to both chronic inflammation and immunodeficiencies that can increase the likelihood of getting sick when exposed to a virus.
A final note on exercise and activities in general. Be safe! We don't want to overload healthcare professionals and medical offices or risk being exposed to COVID-19 because we need treatment for injuries.
NUTRITION: Stay hydrated, limit processed food and sugar (nothing new here). This may also be an opportunity to experiment with intermittent fasting .
Grocery stores are low on (or out) of milk and eggs (and many other things!). Skip breakfast, drink plenty of water (black coffee is ok, too), and get your workout in while in the fasted state-- you won’t die! Extending your overnight fast gives your body additional time to focus on repair and recovery Instead of expending energy to process food. Do you noticed when sick, you often lose your appetite? This is your body needing to focus on healing rather than digestion. Making the kitchen off-limits for part of the day will also help you avoid mindless, constant snacking. It’s often easier to not eat than to stress about eating all the right things. This is not a starvation diet so once it’s time to eat, focus on eating plenty of whole/nutritious foods. There are many healthy benefits to intermittent fasting.
(More great Info on intermittent fasting HERE)!
Emotional eating could also be an issue during these times. Try to find activities or projects that take your mind off current events and keep you busy. It's a great time for some spring cleaning! Use any extra time you may have to find healthy recipes to try. Taking a multi-vitamin might be a good idea to fill in any gaps created by limited food choices. Key vitamins and minerals in supporting a healthy immune system Include: Vitamins A,C,D,E as well as Zinc, Selenium, and Iron. One last note: tobacco and alcohol use can impede immune response.
SLEEP: Schedules are likely off so be sure to get a minimum of 7 hours each night (8-9 even better) It’s been shown that sleep deprivation leads to both inflammation and immunodeficiencies that can increase the likelihood of illness.
MINDSET: Worrying about health and finances can take it’s toll on our mental well-being. While it’s important to stay up to date, we can easily get overloaded with COVID-19 news, stories, and statistics. Stay Informed in order to protect yourself and your loved ones, but limit how much time and mental energy you devote to the topic. As mentioned above, exercise is key right now to prevent anxiety and depression. Try to also get out in the sunlight and fresh air each day. If you don't already practice mindfulness and meditation, this is a great time to start. Download the Headspace App for some free guided meditation. Find reasons to be positive and grateful each day.
CONNECTING: If you live alone, use technology to communicate with loved ones. FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Skype are great ways to video chat. Take advantage of more time together at home with family to have fun and connect realizing that occasional home "social distancing" may be necessary at times.
Check out the Healthy Kids Rx post for a long list of ideas to keep kids busy at home.
Paint a room, clean a closet, read a book, learn a new skill!
Make the best of Quarantine 2020
we'll be back to our over-scheduled, hectic lives before you know it!